The Tullamarines
Ugly Cry


5.0
classic

Review

by owl beanie EMERITUS
November 3rd, 2023 | 4 replies


Release Date: 11/03/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Galle

THE SCENE HERE REMINDS ME OF MEAN GIRLS. OR JUST THE CONCEPTUAL WRITHING BLOB OF NINETIES/EARLY-NAUGHTS AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL MOVIES. THE CLIQUES, THE REPEATED WEEKEND SHOW BILLS, THE WRITER’S CIRCLES CONVERGING ON THE PUB ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND EMERGING AT THE MOUTH OF THURSDAY MORNING AFTER BEERS WITH ANOTHER HEADACHE AND ANOTHER RUCKSACK FULL OF NASCENT OPINIONS ABOUT PEOPLE THAT WERE SITTING JUST TWO TABLES DOWN FROM THEM IN THE COURTYARD THE NIGHT PRIOR. THE THIN, FIBROUS SOCIO-POLITICS OF TRYING TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY FRIENDSHIP GROUP IN A SMALL CITY. THIS IS IT. I HAVE BARELY EVER MET A BAND IN THIS SCENE THAT CAN NAVIGATE IT WITHOUT COPPING A FEW REPUTATIONAL BRUISES.

RARELY HAVE I SEEN A GROUP OF MUSICIANS KEEP IN EVERYBODY’S GOOD GRACES WHILE THEY WAIT PATIENTLY ON THE LAUNCHPAD THAT’S BOUND TO SPRING THEM INTO NATIONAL STARDOM. THESE ***ING GUYS – “THE TULLAMARINES” – HAVE A SORT OF AFFABILITY ABOUT THEM, AN EMOTIONAL TENDERNESS AND PERCEPTIVENESS, THAT REFLECTS IN THEIR FIRST EP, “UGLY CRY”. IT IS A CANDID LITTLE THING BUT IT DOES NOT BEAT YOU, THE LISTENER, OVER YOUR SOFT FRAGILE SKULL WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THE SUBJECTS OF THE LYRICS. HEREIN THE LYRICIST AND THEIR SUBJECT ARE TREATED TO THE SAME AMOUNT OF NUANCE AND COMPLEXITY. “I LOVE YOUR GUTS, BUT I HATE THIS FEELING”. WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ‘FEELING’ IN THIS LYRIC (FROM “HEAD ROLL BACK”)? THE INFERENCE IS THAT BOTH PEOPLE ARE – AND BOTH SHOULDER THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A RESOLUTION.

THIS MIGHT RING FAMILIAR TO CERTAIN READERS BECAUSE ACTUALLY THAT IS JUST HOW RELATIONSHIPS (SHOULD) WORK. THE EP IS CALLED “UGLY CRY” FOR A REASON. HONESTY IS, LIKE, REALLY DIFFICULT BECAUSE IT INHERENTLY REQUIRES A CONTINUAL AWARENESS OF THE THRESHOLD BETWEEN YOUR INTERNAL WORLD AND ANOTHER PERSON’S OR PEOPLES’. WHEN WE ARE SEEN CRYING WITH RECKLESS ABANDON IT FEELS MESSY AND AWKWARD AT FIRST BUT THE ALTERNATIVE IS WHAT? WOULD YOU RATHER SIT IN A TERSE SILENCE AND LET YOUR UNFORTUNATE INTERLOCUTOR MARINATE IN FEELINGS OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS? INCOMPETENCE? CONFUSION? GET REAL, GUY. LET THE TEARS FLOW AND THE CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION PASS THROUGH ON THE SLIPSTREAM.

ALL THINGS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT – LIFE A GAME OF DISTRIBUTING EQUAL AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT TO A SERIES OF LOAD-BEARING PLATFORMS. “THE TULLAMARINES” WRITE TOGETHER NOT JUST ON THE SURFACE LEVEL OF SONGS MATERIALISING FROM JAM SESSIONS OF VARYING SERIOUSNESS AND LEVELS OF EXCITABILITY AND POTENTIAL. I MEAN THAT DUE TO THEIR CLOSENESS AND AN ETHOS THAT FOREGROUNDS BALANCE AND SYNERGY, THEY HAVE AN INNATE UNDERSTANDING OF EACH OTHER’S STRENGTHS AS SONGWRITERS AND AS PERFORMERS. WHEN LUCINDA’S VOCALS APPEAR, LIKE AT THE END OF “HEAD ROLL BACK” AND DURING “TALLER”, IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS AT A POINT OF AIRINESS AND INSTRUMENTAL RESTRAINT (THIS IS ME TRYING TO AVOID USING THE WORD “ETHEREAL” AT MOST – IF NOT ALL – COSTS). ANGUS’ ALMOST DESPERATE-SOUNDING, PUMMELLING RHYTHM GUITARS – POUNDED OUT IN UNWAVERING SEMI-QUAVERLY FASHION – WILL PULL BACK AT TIMES WHEN BENNY’S CHORUS-LADEN LICKS ENTER A MEASURE OF FRANTIC HAMMER-ONS AND PULL-OFFS, ASCENDING UP THE NECK LIKE A SUDDEN COLD CHILL. JOSH IS CONTEXTUALLY AWARE ON THE STICKS – OFTEN SIGNALLING A SHIFT IN GROOVE WITH A FILL OR TWO BEFORE THE REST OF THE BAND SWEEPS IN LIKE A FORMULA ONE PIT CREW TO REARRANGE THE VIBE WITH CONSIDERABLE A P L O M B, SO THAT EVERY TRANSITION FROM VERSE TO CHORUS TO BRIDGE TO SOLO TO CHORUS FEELS NATURAL AND IN KEEPING WITH THE THEMES OF CHANGE AND MATURATION. WONDERFUL.

CANDOUR IS ONE THING BUT WITHIN FIVE SHORT INDIE NUMBERS THE BAND “THE TULLAMARINES” (FROM ADELAIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA BTW) ALSO MASTERFULLY WEAVE IN THEMES OF CONTROL, AS IN LIKE, LOSING CONTROL AND SEARCHING FOR WAYS TO FIND IT AGAIN. “HEAD ROLL BACK” – ONCE MORE – IS AN INTERESTING EXERCISE IN SEMANTIC SYMBOLISM. THE CHORUS GOES LIKE: ”WOaAaaaaaaaAH I CAN FEEL MY HEAD ROLL BACK, MY HEAD ROLL BACK TO US” AND CURIOUSLY, THE VERB “ROLL” DOES SOME HEAVY LIFTING HERE. USING “ROLL” IN LIEU OF WORDS LIKE “GO” OR “RETURN” EVOKES THE IDEA OF AN OBJECT GATHERING MOMENTUM OR SOME COLLOQUIAL “STEAM” OUTSIDE OF THE GOVERNANCE OF EITHER THE OBJECT ITSELF OR ITS OWNER. SO: IN SO MANY WORDS THE LYRIC ILLUSTRATES HOW THE RELATIONSHIP IN QUESTION FUNCTIONS AS A DRUG (IN THAT IT’S ADDICTIVE, PSYCHOLOGICALLY GRATIFYING, AND YET RUINOUS). THIS OF COURSE IS NOT A NEW IDEA, BUT TO BE ABLE TO CONVEY IT SO DEFTLY IN A SENTENCE THAT ON FIRST PASS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A BASIC SENTIMENT IS CLEVER SONGWRITING.

WHAT “THE TULLAMARINES” CAN CONTROL (TO AN EXTENT) IS THEIR LIKEABILITY, WHICH I OFTEN FEEL INDIE ROCK LIVES OR (IN MOST EXAMPLES) DIES BY. IF FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LACKLUSTRE, THE GENRE CONVENTIONS OF THIS PEPPY COLLEGE KID MUSIC END UP SOUNDING AT BEST SLIGHTLY GRATING AND AT WORST LIKE MERETRITIOUS AND COMPLETELY HOLLOW – A FACSIMILE OF EMOTIONS THAT FEEL LIKE A LOT OF MONEY AND A COMPLETE ABSENCE OF CREATIVITY. NOT SO IN THIS CASE. “THE TULLAMARINES” HAVE THIS SORT OF COMMUNAL PRESENCE THAT EXTENDS TO THE AUDIENCE. HAVING “CUT THEIR TEETH” (SO TO SPEAK) IN A VARIETY OF FORMS ON THE LOCAL ADELAIDE MUSIC SCENE BEFORE COMING TOGETHER IN THEIR CURRENT FORM, THEIR SONGWRITING HAS A WELCOMING FEEL TO IT; THE BREATHLESS PACE WITH WHICH THESE TRACKS MOVE ARTFULLY CONCEALS THE SIMPLICITY AT THE CORE OF THE BAND’S PROCESS. THE MUSIC AND ITS THEMES ARE EASY TO GRASP. THERE IS CLAP-ALONG PARTS AND GOD FORBID SING-ALONG PARTS WITH BASIC OCTAVE AND FIFTH HARMONIES BUT THEY ARE CONSTRUCTED SO CONFIDENTLY AND UNPRETENTIOUSLY THAT IT HAS YOU QUESTIONING WHEN YOU GOT SO OLD, SO BITTER, AND SO RELIANT ON IRONY TO HIDE THE FACT YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH FORGING GENUINE HUMAN BONDS. THERE IS ALSO PARTS LIKE THE BAR-LONG POST-CHORUS REST IN “ALL I HAD” THAT EXUDE MORE CHARISMA IN THE BLINK OF YOUR BLOODSHOT EYE THAN ANY OF THESE REGULAR TOTE-BAG TOTING, SLOWDIVE-LISTENING MOTHER***ERS, INCLUDING ME, HAVE IN THEIR WHOLE LIVES.

WHAT I WANT TO SEE MORE OF RIGHT NOW IS THIS FRIENDSHIP MUSIC. MUSIC WHERE MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING IS BOTH ITS NEXUS AND ITS END GOAL. MUSIC THAT IS PREDICATED ON THE IDEA THAT ACCEPTANCE OF ONE'S CIRCUMSTANCE IS NOT THE SAME AS THROWING IN THE ***ING TOWEL. IN LISTENING TO “THE TULLAMARINES” “UGLY CRY” YOU ARE INVITED TO LET YOUR GUARD DOWN JUST AS THEY HAVE AND MEET IN THE MIDDLE WHICH HERE COINCIDENTALLY IS THE PEAK OF A HILL OVERLOOKING SOME MEADOWS WHILE THE SUNSET LOOKS LIKE A WATERCOLOUR PAINTING AND JUST KINDA LIKE “BE” OR “EXIST” OR WHATEVER, KNOWING WITHOUT IT BEING EXPLICITLY STATED THAT WHEN YOU COME DOWN YOUR FRIENDS WILL HAVE ALREADY MADE YOU A BED AND PUT A BIG GLASS OF WATER AND SOME POWERADE ON THE BEDSIDE TABLE.



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user ratings (3)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Emeritus
November 3rd 2023


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

!!!!!

WatchItExplode
November 3rd 2023


10471 Comments


Not too shabby

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2023


18907 Comments


GOOD REVIEW

verdant
Emeritus
November 3rd 2023


2492 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

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