Review of The Pulltops self titled release.The Pulltops feature a big sound produced by the power trio of Tom Crowell (guitar, vocals), Mark Pierret (drums, vocals) and Steve Kerwin (bass). From the first few notes and straight on through to end of this CD I thought this band had something I am always looking for. I like a piece of each decade of modern music from the 60’s to present day and The Pulltops are able to satisfy that hunger that never seems to subside, at least for these ears.Power trios have a long line and reputation to uphold including bands like Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The James Gang and Grand Funk, to name a few of the legends that literally defined the term. I think The Pulltops take a little of each influence and throw in some psychedelic progressive slices (the band sites Pink Floyd, Gin Blossoms, U2) to produce a powerful, melodic, and catchy sound that is hard not to like if you have a love for rock music dating back to the 60’s.There are 11 tracks on this CD, each puts the band in a good light as they sparkle and shine with several variations and tones through each musical workout. I should emphasize the word workout because this is three guys making all this noise. I know you can do just about anything in the studio these days to make something sound great and take parts and put it all together but even so, this band does a fantastic job with each track giving the listener long stretches of tight rock sounds that brings out each instrument into the spotlight for a while. Those long stretches of fine musicianship swept me away every time and I had a tendency to forget that the songs had vocals. The first track “From The Womb To The Tomb,” which would have been fitting to end the album because of the title, is an instrumental blockbuster that lets you know that what you are hearing are three men that know how to play music. After that magnetic intro they have some fun throwing everything they have into the mix all at once.The way they lay out the tracks in sequence is brilliant, “Fools Rule The World” (they ask the question “where will this winding road lead?”) segues right into “Too Close For Missiles, Too Far For Guns.” That track is extension and or Part II of the previous track. Again, the boys give you another instrumental outburst that says it all. Both tracks carry some heavy weight upon their shoulders and the titles alone more than hint towards the state of affairs we find ourselves in these dark days. Chin up though music lovers, this CD will make you smile in spite of the darkness we feel closing in on us right now.I honestly enjoyed every track for all of the reasons I would love an album, as I mentioned earlier. At times, I did hear the U2 influence and the lead singer Mark Pierret sounds like shades of Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and luckily, for them it works and makes their sound more full and believable inside and out. I highly recommend this band The Pulltops, it is the kind of music you will not be able to get enough of after the first listen.5/5 Stars” - Keith "MusikMan" Hannaleck


Review of The Pulltops "8-Track" release.Milwaukee-based trio The Pulltops mix retro sounds of the 1960s and the 1970s into something fresh and new. Their 8 song CD (appropriately entitled 8-Track) is a fun half hour's musical fare, mixing elements of blues, rock, and country into something melodic and distinctive. At the end of 2001, when John Lennartz' departure translated to an end of things for the band Udi Subudi, the other band members decided to start something new. This new band became The Pulltops: Mark Pierret on drums, vocals and moog, Tom Crowell on guitars, bass, vocals, moog, Fender Rhodes and percussion, and Rocky Dunst on bass. Pierret and Crowell have written some fine songs here, and enhanced their efforts with great mixing and production too. Opening with a sweeping two-and-a-half minute musical introduction of guitar lines dancing atop a strong percussive beat, you get an immediate sense you're about to hear something a bit different. "Fences" is a fairly traditional song with many disparate elements going on at once, yet the production never seems crowded in the least. There is subtle nuance to the instrumentation, and delectable Posie-like harmonies at times. The song, about barriers, is pleasantly mellow, but with punch, much in the manner of some Velvet Crush or Gigolo Aunt songs. "Bring It To Me" is a rather demanding chauvinistic lyric from a sort of stalker character who wants it all and wants it his way. The demanding obnoxious lyric must be somewhat tongue in cheek, right? The song itself is fairly infectious otherwise, with a nice rootsy beat driving it along, and a superb reverb-enhanced middle vocal bridge. "Peace" builds slowly from bare vocals and guitar to eventual ironic shouts, a sweet prayer/poem of a song, full of subtle well wishes, on the order of this: "salt in your heart / a simple child / a perfect smile / I hope you find peace tonight.""On My Way (Small Town)" reminds me of many Mike Nesmith songs both vocally and in the way the guitars have a sort of endearing Monkee/Beatle/country thing going. This is very 1960s, very catchy, and full of simple good times, a song about not being able to go back to living in a small town. Another strong track very well executed.The Pulltops show a certain affinity for songs of comfort, safety and assurance. "Bleed," the last song recorded for this CD, is one of the best of these. As a conscious challenge, the band used unusual instrumentation: replacing the normal drum kit with marching snares and a marching bass drum, swapping Fender Rhodes, a bell kit and a fretless bass for the usual guitar parts. The end results are quite good: the fretless bass gives this song/pledge of loyal friendship and sacrifice a delightful jazzy underpinning. Those who wonder if The Pulltops can rock harder need only listen to "Voices." You get more of a Cheap Trick/Knack feel to things here, more basic crunchy guitar and pounding drums, and nice harmonies that soften the crazy "voices in my head" singer's narrative.The closer "Long Way Home" is a great song (and it's rare to find many CDs that end on such a strong note). Driven by strong beats and forceful guitar, this musical journey home is one worth taking. Crowell and Pierret really show their stuff, and then the song fades into ambient road noise that goes on a bit (and might have you walking along with your thumb out, hoping for a ride).There's a lot of power and intensity behind the varied sounds here, and this 8-Track is a fine debut sampler. The Pulltops do manage the difficult feat of taking old elements and making them new, but it all goes by far too quickly and leaves the listener eager for more.” - Gary Glauber