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The Tea Club - Rabbit CD (album) cover


The Tea Club


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 92 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Two years ago, The Tea Club burst onto the scene with their debut, General Winter's Secret Museum. It was considered a major highlight of that year, and was more or less universally lauded as a truly impressive piece of progressive music. I can remember where I was when I first listened to that album, as well as writing my review of it. I was very different then, and by this point I'd like to think I've matured and grown considerably as a person and as an artist. With Rabbit, their second studio release, I'm happy to report that The Tea Club have taken that maturing journey right along with me.

It is quite difficult for me to fully explain the dark, ethereal beauty this album contains without just giving a play-buy-play account, but I will try to give my impressions of the release in as concise a manner as I can. Firstly . . . it just makes sense. Just like its predecessor, this album fits the time it was made in, and never compromises a thing. Plenty of the elements held within the beautiful packaging are still unconventional and bold in their presentation, but something I feel must be pointed out is that in many ways, Rabbit surpasses what came before. To me, that is more impressive than anything else about this striking release.

The first time around, one of the big draws for me was how strong the opening track was on General Winter. It really made you want to dive in to the rest of the material to follow. With Rabbit, it's much the same. ''Simon Magus'' is the perfect album opener, and I was already able to tell by that track that the band's sound had evolved considerably, in a relatively short amount of time. That got me excited for the remainder of the album. What else would The Tea Club have up their sleeves?

Well, the answer to that is simple: magic. That's what the band had in store for me, although I didn't quite expect to be this floored by the whole thing. From the lovely opening notes of track 1 all the way 'till the record's resounding end, I felt like I had been swept up into a dream-- a dream that could only be concocted by someone with a firm grasp of his art and the proper knowledge to know what to do with it. Clearly, with Dan and Patrick, I was in very capable hands in this regard.

But of course the band is more than just two people. Specifically, let us not overlook just how instrumental Becky Osenenko is to the album's fresh sound. I think without her, the end result wouldn't have been as enjoyable for me. She really adds a lot to the overall feel of the band's music. But as it was the last time around, it is very clear all of these guys have a helluva lot of talent. Bringing more experimentation and more daring song variety into the mix on Rabbit was bold, and it also happened to be the right decision. It blew me away on more than one occasion, and it further solidified the notion I already had brewing that The Tea Club are among the leaders of modern experimental music.

Something that kept coming to mind as I listened to Rabbit was that the grungy heaviness that seemed to play such a huge role in the band's unique sound on the previous album is almost non-existent, here. It's still evident in places, but no longer is it as potent. It is strange how I felt this element was so instrumental in the band's uniqueness previously, since its frequent absence on Rabbit has absolutely no effect whatsoever on my enjoyment of the music itself. In place of the harder-edged energy of , there is an even better-fitting element of reserved, beautiful complexity (lending itself brilliantly to that 'dream-like' quality I eluded to earlier). That isn't to say things don't still rock pretty hard in places, but when things do get hectic, it feels more layered and three-dimentional.

I guess that's a huge part of this entire album: everything feels much more exact and anticipated. A second release for many bands can be even more difficult than the debut, because the anticipation can lead one to question his direction and spend time analyzing his motives much more than he would otherwise. You just want it to be good, and sometimes that means you will improve yourself into failure due to pushing beyond your limits. Thankfully, that didn't happen here. Either these guys are incredibly lucky, or they simply know the right decisions that need to be made artistically and musically. In the case of Rabbit, the right decisions certainly were made.

Lyrics are also a stand-out feature for me, I guess because I find them particularly poetic and left up for interpretation. My favorite lyrics will often capture a mood or an emotional state, but not spoil things by being too specific in subject manner. By and large, this seems to be the case on Rabbit. A brilliant example of what I'm talking about is near the end of the song ''Royal Oil Can'': Heart in hand, The Iron Woodsman clears a path. I'm on my roof, as everything turns white. That's real poetry, kiddies. take notes.

The best tracks on the album for me are ''SImon Magus'', ''Royal Oil Can'', ''Out Of The Oceans'', ''Tumbleweeds'' and finally, ''Astro''. While all songs are great, it is that particular selection of tracks that spoke to me on the most intimate of levels. Getting even more exact, I would say that ''Out Of The Oceans'' is by far my personal favorite. It just seems to be the perfect example of what Rabbit is about. It has a flawless mixture of all the best elements; melody, instrumentation, lyrics, and depth. The Tea Club fellas have grown considerably as songwriters and performers, and I'm just ecstatic over this album. May they continue rocking my socks off for many years to come.

If you don't try out this album, you will be missing out on one of the best works of the year. 4.5 stars, easily.

JLocke | 4/5 |


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