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The Tea Club - The Tea Club CD (album) cover

THE TEA CLUB

The Tea Club

 

Crossover Prog

3.13 | 5 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Live and rare tracks - a gift to fans from the band

The Tea Club is an excellent band from the northeastern Unites States who've been together for several years now, although they sport a relatively new current line-up. After the energetic General Winter's Secret Museum and the brilliant moonlight rock of Rabbit, personnel changes increased the fold to a 6-piece, now Patrick McGowan, Dan McGowan, Charles Batdorf, Jim Berger, Becky Osenenko, and Joe Rizzolo (who replaces Minnick). They have been playing live and writing for months and there have been rumors that the new Tea Club is contemplating the drop of a double-album on their adoring fans. The time may indeed be right for a "Teas from Topographic Oceans" so to speak, with new energy aboard and the confidence attained from their fantastic previous album.

While we wait, we've been treated to this little morsel consisting of three live tracks and one rare older studio track. One of the live songs is from Rabbit while the other two are tantalizing unreleased songs which may be coming on the new album. Then there is a cool studio track from 2005 called "Showertime Gorilla" (love that image) which is a feisty instrumental, a McGowan/Berger/Minnick jam sounding somewhere between Crimson and I Treni All'Alba. The live material has less than perfect sound quality of course, but getting the chance to hear the band live is great. I was thrilled to hear the 15 minute version of "Simon Magus/Nuclear Density Gauge" from Rabbit. This has to be difficult material to pull off live with the nuanced instrumental work and challenging vocals, and the Teas pull it off very well. All of the mysterious, twisting paths are in tact while the mood of the songs comes through beautifully.

The new material is enticing indeed and I can't wait to hear the coming project, which I do hope will be the fine product of producer Tim Gilles' Big Blue Meenie Studios again. (Tim is almost another member of The Tea Club, providing the band with his expertise and a very welcoming creative space from which to record. I've never recorded an album but I would imagine these things matter a great deal.) "Oz Style" is near-violently heavy at times, it just kicks ass. Cool tom rolls in the beginning usher a cacophony of delightful sounds. And I love those keyboard runs in the middle of the mayhem. This track shows the growing power of the band, the potential. With this large new line-up now gelling and with their general prowess and passion they are going to be downright formidable. "Wasp" is also impressive with a more typical, dreamy Tea feel but with ants-in-pants motion at the same time, full of thunderous instrumental energy and that restless, longing mood which to me runs through much of their work. I don't generally give high ratings for EPs and singles as I consider them mostly "for fans" and rarely "essential." But this is very good nonetheless - it certainly does the job of putting the world on notice that the next statement from The Tea Club promises to be something from another Stargate. Bravo my friends.

Hear the new EP from the band's website, linked from their PA artist page.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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