By: Martyn Coppack
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Released on January 27, 2015 via Self Released
The Tulips first came to the attention of Echoes and Dust when they delivered a rather fine version of ‘Wild Horses’ on Stoned, a tribute to the Rolling Stones from a bunch of new psychedelic bands. It was a lush interpretation which really got into the bones of the song and showed the true melancholy within. It’s good to report then, that Echo Blue, the second album from the LA psych-folk band continues in this vein and shows that ‘Wild Horses’ was not a one off.
Now complemented by a full band, The Tulips have taken their stripped back sound and filled it out with lush harmonies and more than a hint of Laurel Canyon classicism. This is no exercise in retro fixation though and the sounds here are more reminiscent of Woods than any 70’s behemoth. In keeping a firm contemporary edge to their music they have stepped ahead of their peers in the Cosmic Americana scene and created created an album that feels completely timeless.
The soaring beginning of ‘Scorpio Moon’ is as good an introduction as you’ll need and for all its melancholic torpor still manages to build up as slight head of steam and feel uplifting. It swoops and soars in all the right spaces but also contains a wonderful level of spaciousness and groove which prevents any high or low levels shining through. It is the magic of The Tulips that they can continue in this half-light drowsy feel throughout Echo Blue and still make songs sound like they are different.
This almost stoned feel seeps into the melancholia of songs such as ‘Winter Winds’ where they drop to a languid beat and tease out the song in level only Low would approach whilst further on they summon up the sound of summer as ‘Keep Searching’ echoes those halcyon days when the sun is sinking and the last shards of summer cause a muggy feel to the air.
They know when to rise up from the languid atmosphere though and ‘Feel Free’ positively jangles its way into your consciousness with its insistent twang. ‘It’s Everything’ slightly earlier on also lifts the heartbeat level except this time there is more than a hint of 80’s new romance about it.
It’s an utter delight to hear an album like this come along and for all the storm in the teacup noises that so pervade music in general, here is a band who take things at their own pace and the joy in what they do shows through. On paper they may not sound like your cup of tea but within lie myriad delights that evoke lost innocence and sadness. This will do just fine.