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Review: 'The Bent Back Tulips'
'Looking Through...'   

-  Label: 'eggBERT Records'
-  Genre: 'Nineties' -  Release Date: '1994'-  Catalogue No: 'ER80015CD'

Our Rating:
This is the second album I'm recommending as a great lost album that's perfect as a stocking filler or to spend your online music tokens on or just as a present for anyone seriously into great powerpop and guitar bands of the 1980's and early non grunge 1990's.

Looking Through... The Bent Backed Tulips was the second album John Easdale of Dramarama asked me if I had while chatting to him at the band's first ever London show at The Black Heart in Camden earlier in the year and I had to say I didn't have it and I even managed to forget that I did own one of the songs I Don't Know Why that featured on a New Rose Records compilation but I certainly didn't own a whole album by them.

So John having been kind enough to send me a copy of what the sticker on the front describes as the great lost Dramarama album I can only say how happy I am to finally have this album that came out in 1994 even if most of the songs were recorded in 1988 and to also confirm that if you hadn't been lucky enough to hear about it previously it is still the great lost Dramarama album and that the cd comes with 9 songs more than the original release on New Rose if you were lucky enough to have bought one. Also The Bent Back Tulips are a 4 piece rather than the 6 piece version of the band on Box Office Bomb.

The album opens with an impassioned version of Stevie Wonder's I Don't Know Why that while not sounding at all soulful has enough of a pleading feel to it to get across the despair in the question of not knowing why you love someone. I Think sounds well just like a great Dramarama song as John wonders about what he should think about you over some really cool driving pop rock.

Bennies Go Home could be about drugs or it could be about dumping another woman or just desperation in general but has a cool revolving riff that keeps a cool poppy edge to it. Come (To Meet Me) is a letter to an ex who no longer comes to see him but who he believes really still want to come and meet him.

Will you Tie me Down and beat me for not having bought this album years ago? Even if the song of that name is a full on plea to be tied down rather than up and make that commitment, that you are unable to do, you could make that decision during the glorious wailing guitar solo in-between the verses.

On The Streets is stripped bare emotions on a mainly acoustic love letter to a love that wanted everything and she couldn't quite have it all while he resists the urge to chase her down the streets. She's Got A Right is sort of her side of the story and what she says about your behavior with a cool acoustic guitars with tambourine and minimal adornment.

Real Easy is about how to frame that question in a way that answers why it went wrong again and doesn't it always seem to go wrong. Long Long Gone continues the mellow mood and the regret for a long gone love as you wonder where she's gone.

The second cover on the album is a version of Ooh La La a song that more than fits lyrically with the bands normal love gone wrong lyrics and John understands why the two Ron's wished they knew more about women's ways than they did when they were younger this is a cool version that sounds a bit Slim Chance like in its delivery even if I can't see any of this lot wearing neckerchiefs.

Another Day Away closed the original album in a very brief 42 seconds of regret that you've gone and moved on. Before the bonus songs begin with Sweet Young Thing that is a full on song as they lust after a Sweet Young Thing and no it doesn't make clear how young the woman who knocks on their door is but then did anyone ask Michael Nesmith that question when The Monkees sang it.

Well of course the Catastrophy they are singing about is another problem in love that can only be solved by the power of glorious guitars and sweet drumming. Soon enough they are Crawling away and hoping to be heard on the radio and let's face it most of the songs on this album would sound great on the radio as they let rip and really get the guitars going.

Here You Are sounds like a lost garage rock classic that is just missing the fuzz guitars as the guitars on it are pretty clean and just going for it and a chorus that you want to sing along too. Convenience Store sounds like the sort of songs whose lyrics might have been dashed off in the back of the tour bus as you notice how the convenience stores across America are similar and yet you always want to go to more of them to fix the need you have for more odd things at odd times.

Maraschino Lies is a bit dreamy and also a bit worrying as he tells the Maraschino not to tell anyone what went on although I don't think it's about popping cherries thankfully. Just don't ask what Maraschino lies about. TV-Made-Movie is all backwards guitars and late night sounds for a movie we probably don't need to see.

Sun Eye is a cool cover of an obscure Marc Bolan song and it makes a change to hear someone covering something other than his hits, this has a good odd time signature as you'd expect as well as being mainly acoustic. The album closes with Too Late and well it's Too Late to claim I always loved this album but now I own a copy I will certainly be listening to it and loving it in the years to come and you should find a copy so you can too. Probably best to go to here https://www.discogs.com/The-Bent-Backed-Tulips-Looking-Through/release/920043
  author: simonovitch

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