Indie-Pop Twee Pioneers Tullycraft Return With PASSING OBSERVATIONS, Announce New Album
Tullycraft is known for writing indie pop anthems. Over the years they've penned a handful of songs that practically define the twee movement in America. The chorus "f me, I'm Twee!" was the refrain that launched a thousand t-shirts, "The Punks Are Writing Love Songs" introduced bratty punk to hummingbird twee, and "Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid to Know About" encapsulated an entire music scene in a single song. And yet despite this, for most, the band exists somewhere near the edges of obscurity.
Occasionally they receive a nod, like when their song "Superboy & Supergirl" was featured in the critically acclaimed Netflix series The End of the F***ing World, but these spotlights don't tend to happen as frequently as one might think.
While the mainstream has largely ignored Tullycraft, their status in the indie pop underground is undeniable. Formed in 1995, they are considered to be one of the genuine pioneers of the American twee pop movement. Touring relentlessly during the last gasp of the truly independent indie-underground, they influenced countless young bands. They were once called "the Johnny Appleseed of Indie Pop - making their way across the country, leaving new bands, promoters, zines and record labels to sprout up in their wake." In recent years the band has stopped performing live, instead shifting their focus to their personal lives, while still writing and recording music together.
The Railway Prince Hotel is Tullycraft's seventh album, their first since 2013's Lost in Light Rotation. This new batch of songs sees Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears continue to share most of the vocal duties, while long time musical stalwarts Chris Munford and Corianton Hale create most of the music. It would be selling Tullycraft short to say that The Railway Prince Hotel picks up where their last album left off. These new songs have a modestly different sound, somewhat due to the fact that long-time drummer (and original Tullycraft member) Jeff Fell, doesn't make an appearance, but also because of the fresh approach the band took to recording this record. Equipped with lyrics, vocal melodies and rough bass lines (provided by Tollefson) the band composed many of the new songs from the ground up in the studio. This was an untried approach for Tullycraft. The result is an extraordinary album of 12 ultra-catchy, whip-smart gems that take aim at everything from failed relationships to the danceability of Billy Joel songs. Throughout the album the music has an exciting urgency which is likely attributed to both the band's spontaneous recording process and the enthusiasm each member brought to the new material. Are the wonderfully snarky, self-referential indie pop lyrics still here? Of course they are, this is Tullycraft after all. A deep dive into the lyrics uncovers an embarrassment of obscure indie references to be discovered. It's hard to imagine a band or artist genuinely hitting their stride on their seventh outing, but much like Achtung Baby(U2's 7th album) or Blonde on Blonde (Bob Dylan's 7th album) somehow Tullycraft has hit the sweet spot between deliberate and daring. The result is a truly great batch of songs. With standout tracks like "Passing Observations," "Has Your Boyfriend Lost His Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?" and the much too short "Lost Our Friends to Heavy Metal" - the question needs to be asked: Could The Railway Prince Hotel be Tullycraft's true masterpiece? Honestly, it very well could be.
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