Inspired by a combined love of all things Ramones, K and Sarah Records, Seattle-based combo Tullycraft led the second wave of C86 through a mid-nineties s**tstorm of grunge and Britpop. Having emerged in early 1995 with the excellent 'Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid To Know About', the five-piece released five albums over a twelve-year period before embarking on an indefinite hiatus at the start of 2009. In the interim period, bands like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Standard Fare and Veronica Falls have cited them as an influence, so when the most recent line-up of Sean Tollefson, Jenny Mears, Chris Munford, Jeff Fell and Cori Hale announced last year they were recording a new album, the indie scene breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Interestingly, the band have chosen to work with production heavyweight Phil Ek, whose credits include The Shins 'Chutes Too Narrow', The Walkmen's 'Heaven' and the first four Band Of Horses albums. Albeit only employed here in a mixing capacity, there's little doubt Ek's influence played a big part in ensuring 'Lost In Light Rotation' ended up a more polished, less lo-fi affair. Which isn't to say they've swapped their DIY aesthetic for something altogether mainstream or commercial, but anyone quick to dismiss them as just another twee band may be forced into an instant rethink.
Consisting of eleven songs in total, 'Lost In Light Rotation' doesn't reinvent the wheel as such. Tullycraft aren't about experimentation or rewriting history books. Instead they've mastered the art of creating mostly joyous, occasionally wistful three-minute pop songs that wouldn't sound out of place in any of the previous five decades. Tollefson and Mears share vocal duties throughout, their boy-girl duets-cum-duels erring on the side of playful for the most part, other times borderline competitive. It adds a touch of character to songs like bright and breezy opener 'Agincourt', 1983 referencing 'Wake Up, Wake Up' or boisterous title track which sounds like The Wedding Present chatting up The Shangri Las after consuming six pints of Leffe apiece.
Sometimes, like on the introspective 'Queenie Co.' when Tollefson sings, "I love my music but I'm tired of my fake friends" Tullycraft's melancholic side takes centre stage. Similarly, 'We Knew Your Name Until Your Heart Stopped' shows their more pensive side. Although not wholly representative of either band or record, it serves as a welcome respite from the upbeat janglefest at the heart of 'Lost In Light Rotation'.
It goes without saying Tullycraft love all things Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, and on three chord wonders 'Westchester Turnabouts' and particularly 'From Wichita With Love', which features the coda from 'Do You Wanna Dance' in its outro, tributes are paid handsomely. Better still is the delightfully titled 'No Tic, All Tac', which seems to focus on an unnamed Scots band that where "Every single one's got their hair dyed black" while they "never played a single show outside of Glasgow Green." The plot thickens.
Ultimately, Tullycraft have returned with a record that showcases them doing what they do best. Time for the young pretenders to move over; the real deal are back in town. Let's hope it doesn't take another six years for the follow-up.
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