The Black Tulips - The Black Tulips EP

Bill Cummings 28/11/2005

Rating: 4/5

Brighton-based The Black Tulips are seductive singer Alexandra, lead guitarist and songwriter Tris, backed up in the rhythm section by Barney on second guitars, glamorous bassist Heidi and drummer Ulysses. They produce an irresistible caustic sound: like some kind of a disease, it gets under your skin and positively bristles. Hacks will be drawn to pigeonholing them into a neat genre: art rock, post punk, goth rock, but that would be lazy: music as in-your-face, feral and poised as this is only faintly traceable to the past, listening to this demo is like sitting in some dark and dingy London club basement at the arse end of the punk movement, listening to the sound of the late night copulating stragglers.

I Just Keep Coming begins by firing off shards of distortion before Dirty filthy bass lines and angular, fucked-up, squelchy guitars gyrate into view, ripping open the heart of the rhythm. Then comes Alexandra's vicious, spiteful female vocals vaguely reminiscent of Siouxie, this is vital, dark, and lo-fi. The final guitar lines and wailing screech are an obscenely good full stop.

Second up is “I Don't Want You”. Stabbing guitars pierce the skin, whilst the powerful sexual desire of the vocals sink their teeth into your flesh, this is the sound of a fumble on the sand dunes, a tryst outside some seedy club, the violent drawled propulsive refrain of “I don't want you” above a distorted wailing guitar, is a sleazy version of Slits fronted by Patti Smith doing her best witch impression.

Last up is Sad Sally, a song about a girl who feels “enhanced by her wonderbra”. It's a divine, fuzzed-up, stompy and Bowie-esque glam tune, with an arch vocal and sharp lyrics (“Sally is sad, so very sad, so very /Very sad.”) Imagine sitting with your eyes closed whilst TOTP2 plays the best female fronted post punk songs of the 70's and your somewhere near to understanding this song.

There's something about the Black Tulips that reminds me of when I first heard Eighties Matchbox B-line disaster, they too were a fearsome band, creating dark thudding sounds, with a sense of insistent dark energy, indeed The Black Tulips have a unique dark hermetically sealed sound, its little wonder record labels are beating a path to their door. The Tulips are as irresistible as a musical disease.