What is a ‘Tully’? Is it a boys name? Is it your friend’s dog? Is it a rural town in Queensland? Take this ambiguous word/town/name and mix it with what appears to be a Dylan reference, and ‘asta-lavista’ – you have Melbourne five-piece Tully on Tully.
A few odd days ago the band independently unleashed a five song EP titled ‘Weightless’. Much within the EP is recurring – mostly noticeably Natalie Foster’s powerful and refreshingly Australian-sounding vocals, as well as emphasized bass and lots of reverb on almost every instrument.
The opening song, Going On Like This, has three potential tracks in one. The clean opening riff is abruptly cut by the chorus, which then abruptly returns to the verse, which then abruptly becomes a guitar-muffling frenzy which then goes back and forth between I-don’t-know-what. Aesthetically it’s got a bit of everything – it’s clean, dirty, pretty and rough. But that’s the thing – there’s so much going on within the one song that it gets a bit confusing. Nonetheless, I guess you could it an adventure at least.
Naked possesses similar intensity, but without similar abruption. Initially it sounds like Coldplay have been whisked away in a rickety and dilapidating caravan to the Wild Wild West (and forced to play music) – instantly rendering it far more interesting than the average Coldplay song. The rhythm section is relentless and the guitar sounds like the soundtrack to a Clint Eastwood showdown. This combined with Matin-esque keys gives the song captivating intensity – topped off by Foster’s equally dark and intense vocals.
Resonating guitar welcomes listeners to the third track, The Young Ones. The effects are cool, the drums tumble, and the bass is prominent. Again. Tully on Tully appear to have mastered a particularly intricate and brilliantly-produced soft-rock sound, but struggle to expand – making the guitar effect perhaps the only feature of the song that clearly distinguishes it from the previous two. Unfortunately, despite being well sung, the vocals also do little to separate The Young Ones from the previous songs.
This changes with the fourth track Stay, which at first sounds like Vampire Weekend stole Tully on Tully’s studio time and accidentally left the results behind. Lines such as “I miss myself so much it hurts” contrast cleverly with the song’s upbeat tempo – providing a pert mix of happy-sad. Fellow Melbourne musician Hayden Calnin shares the vocals with Foster, adding some extra pleasantry to the song and almost renders it cute. As the EP begins to sink into the murky, cold depths of soft-rock abundance, Stay scoops it back up into the sunshine.
The EP ends with Quiet Company. I know that everybody’s parents (and grandparents) parrot the saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ like there’s no tomorrow, but this song pretty strongly reaffirms that notion. The vocals are sang somewhat softly and the instruments are isolated, allowing ambience, subtlety and simplicity. The drums slowly churn and echo. They make you want to flick on your (hypothetical) lighter and sway it above your head until the sun next rises. I’m not quite sure why Tully and Tully left the best songs until last, but they’re the cherries on top of a pleasant release.