Accord, New York’s Tulula! has been stomping around Rip Van Winkle’s dreamland since 2006. The acid-cowboy quintet of Jason Broome (The Westport Sunrise Sessions), Rob Norris (East Of Venus, The Bongos, Blue Paradox), Chris Bradley (June Cleaver & The Steak Knives, Shaktipat), Daniel Weintraub (The Westport Sunrise Sessions) and Marianne Tasick (The Sweet Clementines) come off like a mosh pit at a gypsy carnival, followed by a séance with the “27 club”… Between them, these five veterans of underground music have toured the world, recorded over twenty-five albums and eaten like princes with paupers. Tulula! is sure to whisk you one dance away from the happy farm. And to be very concise, the sounds they make will make you happy and make you think. Singing Songs In The Dark is their recorded debut and it’s a pretty sweet ride.
If there’s a way to accurately describe the sound of Tulula!, it’s dreamy, dramatic, atmospheric and spellbinding. Theirs is the soundtrack to a technicolor dream with moments of nightmare; melodic but with twists and turns, which makes it a riveting collection of songs. Case and point, the opening cut, “Alimony” mixes pop conventions with interesting shifts, going from soft to intense to menacing and back to delicate; “Evergreen Eyes” lures you in and quickly devours you with its quiet/loud/quiet pace – listen to the layered vocals and subtle harmonies – then goes into a completely different movement. This is one of those wonderful pieces that threads together more than one song into one epic opus (at 5:56, you can see how it can be done, without dragging). “All My Little Words” is easily the “pop” hit; a radio friendly track that has hooks and melody – and if you listen, it sounds deliberately and perfectly underproduced – there is a live-room warmth and natural-ness that gives this song even more impact and “Come Heavy”, the album’s closer is also the longest song – at 8:50, it feels like the apt sound to the ending of an intense psychological thriller; the vocals are rich and the tension of this piece just builds and builds – and it works.
Eight songs usually don’t merit “album” status in my book, but these are all songs of length; fully-fleshed out, fully realized tracks that have emotional ebb and flow with each. This isn’t lightweight, disposable or cutesy, yet it’s filled with color and melody, played by some very fine musicians. Which is why this resonates so loudly and so well with me. One not to be missed, Tulula!’s maiden voyage, Singing Songs In The Dark, is a ride you need to take.
Singing Songs In The Dark is currently available