Tomorrows Tulips

When

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When Review

by Tim Sendra

The Southern California trio Tomorrows Tulips exist on the bummer side of the garage noise spectrum, salting their reverb-heavy ballads and midtempo laments with some lite grunge seasonings. Their third album, When, is their bummeriest album yet, with the band laying down some seriously downcast vibes and whipping up some serious slack blues and greys. After starting off When with an uptempo tune, the super hooky "Baby," that starts you thinking that maybe this time the Tulips are feeling OK, they set off on a midtempo journey to the center of blah that's punctuated by some under-the-covers four-track warbling the likes of which haven't been heard since the early-'90s heyday of sad guys with four-track recorders. Pretty bleak, in other words, and not always convincing, either. Calling a noisy, almost somnambulant song "Down Turned Self Pity" is almost too much, and the trio's insistence of sounding as much like they just had their wretched lives wrecked on every song begins to wear thin after the first couple. So many songs feel forced and false, that even the few that do have some positive impact, like the whispery, Velvet Underground-y "Glued to You" or the almost lilting "Laying in the Sun," aren't enough to stem the tide. It's really too bad that the band stick so closely to that one mood throughout, because "Baby" shows that they do know how to write songs with some punch. A few more tracks like this, a few less like the self-pity song and then we're talking. As it stands, When is just too draggy, too bummery, and too stuck in one mood to be anything more than a one-dimensional misfire.

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