A growing trend with recent bands appears to be the use of eccentric vocalists. (Sorry, did I say eccentric? Obviously I meant “unique.”) Pleasant examples include the angry Scotch miss and dandy highwayman effects of Adele and Scott from Sons and Daughters. A less pleasant example is that guy from Art Brut; winner of the London village gravel gargling competition.
New pretenders the Black Tulips boast the lyrical talents of singer/songwriter Alexandra, who contorts her vocal chords to produce a plethora of sounds: one moment soaring, the next growling. Indeed, on “I Don’t Want You” she produces a rather unexpected howl that has my cat suddenly interested in the music.
The vocals are where any comparisons with current bands begin to run out, though. The Tulips’ sound is raw, primal and uncompromising. The flatulent bass line of “Just Keep Coming”, joined at the chorus by poison-laden guitars, sounds like something more likely to be heard in the ninth circle of hell. In “I Don’t Want You” the guitars are delightfully sharp, accompanying some colourful lyrical imagery: it sounds like Franz Ferdinand murdered, re-animated and instructed to “rock” like they never did in their former incarnation. “Sad Sally” is slightly more conventional, but is lifted by the crashing cymbals and vocal gymnastics.
The Tulips’ crashing wall of sound may serve to put many off, but it is worth sticking with, as the result is truly innovative. And if it’s good enough for my cat to take interest in, it should be for you too!