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


The Tea Party

Crossover Prog

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2 stars Influences very much worn on their sleeves on the very first indie release in 1991 by The Tea Party. Doors, Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix and english folk rock like Pentangle and John Renbourn. A competent release but a little too retro in the middle of the Seattle grunge scene at the time. Nothing really progressive here except for the extended "Save Me" which has an up down/up down/up down kind of development to it like Deep Purple's "Child In Time". Incredible drumming from Jeff Burrows and guitar arrangements by Jeff Martin. A great passionate vocal delivery by Jeff Martin with a middle eastern vibe. "Winter Solstice" is a sublime instrumental which reminds me of the winter landscape in southern Ontario after a good dumping of snow (the boys coming from the Lasalle/River Canard area). Luckily for The Tea Party, this was the direction they would embrace on their next 2 long players in "Splendor Solis" and "Edge Of Twilight". 2.5 stars for the whole album, 5 stars for "Save Me", 4 stars for "Winter Solstice".
Report this review (#406027)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The debut album from Canadian hard-rock outfit THE TEA PARTY had a limited release in 1991. At the time the world was preoccupied with grunge, so it garnered very little attention. Fortunately the better tracks on the album were re-recorded (generally for the better) and re-released on their acclaimed follow-up album, Splendor Solis, two years later. So you are not missing anything if you do not hunt this down.

Their first album sees THE TEA PARTY searching for their musical voice. Much has been made of their Zeppelinesque sound and Jeff Martin's Jim Morrison vocal style, but I don't really hear it that way. Martin has a baritone voice and Morrison was rock's most famous baritone (though Eddie Vedder was to challenge him), so it was natural to make the comparison - but when we first hear a band we constantly look for comparisons. They are like Led Zeppelin in that they are largely blues-based, incorporating folk and middle-eastern elements, but they project neither the ambition nor the confidence Led Zeppelin had from the start.

This album was convincing enough to keep them in the game. Highlights include Midsummer Day, an excellent ballad (if twice as long as it needs to be), and Save Me, which would be shortened for subsequent releases, and is a staple of their live performances. The guitar here is thinner than on subsequent albums and the production in general is barely adequate. This would be a solid three-star album if the better tracks did not reoccur on their next album. Skip this one and dive headlong into their next few releases.

Report this review (#1280796)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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