Tomorrows Tulips: When (Burger Records, 2015)

Tomorrows Tulips: When

Tomorrow Tulips son algo así como el culmen de la experiencia LoFi llevada al límite rozando con influencias que podrían ir desde Pavement a la Velvet Underground, a la vez que componen temas sobre temáticas mundanas o utilizando un sentido del humor bastante personal. Aunque el disco en su totalidad resulta un tanto árido, tiene momentos destacados…

“The opening track, “Baby,” is one of the obvious exceptions to this tendency, but it’s quickly followed by “Surplus Store,” which is, essentially, a character study in song form. The character: that guy who shops at the surplus store that gives the song the name. You know the one I’m talking about. His life hasn’t worked out the way he wanted it to so far, and he might be dangerous, but at the same time he might just be kind of upset and thrifty. “He’s a dirtbag revolutionary,” Tomorrows Tulips sing, and while it’s not an approving portrait, it is a sympathetic one. And that sympathy sets off a thread of social criticism that runs throughout the breadth of the record. When is a product of this particular moment in American politics, economics and culture just as much as the band’s members are, and When doesn’t shy away from addressing that reality now and then.
“Laying in the Sun,” veers back towards romance, or at least into the neighborhood of romance, taking aim at what is either love lost or lost love (the distinction is never made quit clear). “Don’t you look good laying in the sun? / How come you won’t come along / when I’m the guy that wants to see you / have fun?” the singer asks, and it’s not at first clear whether or not he’s just perving on some random sunbather, but the eventual suffix to a few verses of lamentation is, “like when we were young,” and the addition adds a sense of yearning. That sense is intensified when the lyrics end significantly before the song does, and are instead replaced by a semi-baroque use of strings. The added violin to the tail end of the track, which starts as scruffy and energetic as the rest of the record, gives the song a stateliness that provides an interesting counterpoint to the general tenor of the record.
“Favorite Episode” is one of the more experimental tracks on the album, a slow-moving behemoth of layered sounds, starting with the long slow drip of water into a cool puddle and then building into a long, lazy instrumental section before stopping short for a two second pause directly in the middle of the song, and coming back with a faster tempo, the distorted sound of the violin, and a brief stanza or so highlighting or perhaps inserting the absurdity of the way we consume media (“season finale on / the weather channel / your favorite episode is on / where the sun never shines,”) before trailing off in a final forty seconds of off-key strumming and picking out individual notes.
Other highlights of the album include “I Lay In My Bed,” which is a piece of slacker-pop almost as poignantly universal to anyone in the world who loves their bed as “I’m Only Sleeping,” and “Glued To You,” which reads like a direct and conscious response to The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You,” right down to the slow-steady beat and murmured, indistinct and uncanny backing vocals which could have come straight out of the build-up (but not the climax) of a very low-budget horror movie. The oblique menace is supported by the way it’s unclear whether the breathy chorus line “Stay glued to you” is a threat or a promise, and is fulfilled when the song smashes to a stop in sudden silence.
Essentially, When is sunny, lo-fi garage-rock at its finest, and an endlessly entertaining listen” (In Your Speakers)

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