Tulipomania isn’t a band that will be here one day, gone the next. They seem to exist in their own shadowy, intriguing bubble. They’re already on their fourth release, The Whispering Campaign, and without any twitter buzz or chat being bandied about to bloggers in cities around them, they prove that the music they play is, most importantly, what they want to play, pandering to nobody. As their band name implies, this is a group interested in the nature of the obsessive. In their case, it may not be the violent passion for a rare tulip, but it’s an unrelenting passion nonetheless. Tom Murray is the band’s core, taking on vocals, guitars and bass. I’m not sure how that works live, but on the album, his voice verges on urgency, hitting falsetto notes one moment and crooning within a smoky distance the next. Guitars are fierce and brooding, with bass lines often reminiscent of early Killing Joke. Opening track “Found Guitar” has a soothing groove that swirls around a line that somberly insists “somehow you don’t care,” making for a captivating, yet disquieting pairing of moods, whether taken for its personal or political connotations. Standout “Rumble Thud”, coming in at midpoint, has a tempo and message about as upbeat as the whim that might drive us to take up a daily game of Russian Roulette: “I’ve seen chances – seen none/lost for ages – cast in stone/I’ve had reasons – I’ve had none/lost my temper with friends/and they’re gone.” Weighty stuff. (Sursumcorda) –Selina S.