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The Tea Party - The Ocean At The End CD (album) cover


The Tea Party


Crossover Prog

3.41 | 40 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Has it really been nearly ten years? One listen to THE TEA PARTY's 2014 reformation album makes it seem no time at all since they broke up after the bland 'Seven Circles'. And I don't mean that entirely in a good way.

Look, these songs are great. Some are outstanding, and the band certainly take more risks than they were taking in 2005. But - and I am finding this difficult to put into words - there's an oily sheen of rock professionalism all over this album. Perhaps it's the overproduction, but I have the feeling it goes deeper. 'The Black Sea', for example, ought to be a standout, but it falls flat. There's no rough hand reaching out from the speakers and grabbing me around the throat. I am not compelled to listen. We get THE TEA PARTY doing PINK FLOYD on the title track, with a plodding pace, ascending chord sequences and a bitchin' guitar solo. Actually, I like it. 'Like' is about the most they get out of me. Heck, even 'Submission' fails to move me, despite the amazing intro. The only time I did a double-take was at the chilling electronic five-minute outro. They have cleansed this record of anything that might irritate or hook the listener and, in so doing, have rendered it sterile.

And what's JEFF MARTIN done with his voice? He's sounding more and more like JIM KERR these days. (Have a listen to 'Cypher' to hear what I mean.) Now I love KERR's heavily affected voice, and it worked in the context of SIMPLE MINDS' elaborate electronic, pulsing rock of the early 80s ('Sons and Fascination' is one of the best records ever made - ooh look, I'm getting sidetracked). But it just sounds incongruous here. He tickles my ear now, when back then he scorched.

This album's good, make no mistake. But I think the band wanted to do better than good. If so, they're probably a little disappointed.

Was it worth them reforming the band? I'll find out in a couple of weeks' time, when I attend their Canberra gig.

russellk | 3/5 |


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