Sjak : Tully Monster is a relatively new, in 2014 founded, heavy rock outfit from Northern Holland, which has the best-known band member in female singer Marike Groot (ex-The Gathering). Next to her The Gathering past, in which she has taken care of the female vocals on the debut album ‘Always’, she has worked with current Tully Monster bass player Robert Jan van der Woud in Littlle Mary Big, with which they have released a couple of demo’s. In Tully Monster this duo is accompanied by guitar players Wieger Janse and Schelte Eppinga and drummer Wolter Jonkman and this five-some have brought their first four-track EP to market with this ‘Sightseeing’.
The music of Tully Monster is characterized by a surplus of different influences and isn’t really easy to categorize. Solid guitar oriented rock is the basis, but there are also influences from pop, soul, jazz and psychedelics interwoven into the songs and that accounts for the fact that you will have to be quite open-minded to be able to appreciate this record. Certainly with a first listen everything can still sound quite unstructured and therefore you will have to invest the necessary time before all pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
The EP contains four songs which together are good for about twenty-five minutes of music. Opening track ‘Wire’ is the most easy-listening tune, but also here there are some unexpected twists added. ‘White Fish’ is in my opinion the most elusive song, in which quite some psychedelic influences are used. With its more than eight minutes duration it’s also the lengthiest song of the EP and lots of influences from other musical styles are present here. That takes some getting used to, but the more you listen to the song the more you will be able to appreciate it. Also in both other tracks ‘In My Arms’ and ‘Sightseeing’ lots of especially progressive influences are used and this is done in quite a tasteful way.
‘Sightseeing’ is definitely not the easiest record to digest and the true headbangers should absolutely stay far away from this. The music fans with a broader taste can certainly give it a try, but also then ‘Sightseeing’ will take some time to become truly appealing. Despite of this Tully Monster with their wayward musical approach has been able to release an interesting debut-EP and therefore the band definitely has a reason for existence. I’m quite curious how this will further develop in the future…