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The Tea Party - The Edges of Twilight CD (album) cover

THE EDGES OF TWILIGHT

The Tea Party

Crossover Prog


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Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars THE TEA PARTY followed up the very successful "Splendor Solis" with an even better album in "The Edges Of twilight". We still get the same style and sound here, it's just that they've improved in just about every way. We even get some spoken words from Roy Harper on one track.Those strange ethnic instruments we heard on the previous album are still here giving this a strong Middle Eastern flavour to go along with the beautiful acoustic tracks and the heavy rocking numbers.There's a picture of Jeff in the liner notes playing this many stringed instrument that i've never seen before. By the way i've read so many comments from people who claimed these guys were brilliant playing live on stage.These three multi-instrumentalists were the real deal folks.

"Fire In The Head" is a song i've heard countless times on the radio and the lyrics are imprinted in my mind. I love when the song kicks in,the guitar is fantastic. Lots of atmosphere ends this amazing track. "The Bazaar" is the other track on here i've heard so many times. It's so exotic and you can just imagine being in the Middle East somewhere in a bazaar in the desert heat with people trying to sell their wares all around you.When this mother kicks in you know it's kicked in ! I like the fast paced vocals and sound here, and the drumming is incredible. "Correspondences" opens with piano and acoustic guitar.Vocals and drums before a minute.Great sound 2 1/2 minutes in with the vocals taking the spotlight. Organ after 3 minutes when the vocals stop.They're back quickly though as themes are somewhat repeated. Great track ! "The Badger" has this interesting sounding intro then it settles with some intricate acoustic guitar work. "Silence" kicks in hard right away with drums out front.The vocals join in quickly.

"Sister Awake" is another song I heard many times back in the day on the radio. Strummed guitar to open as vocals and that ethnic vibe arrive. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes with tribal-like drumming. How freaking good is this ! "Turn The Lamp Down Low" is a fantastic blues flavoured tune. Check out the lyrics on this one as well. It kicks into gear before 3 minutes.Love the percussion late. "Shadows On The Mountainside" is an acoustic track with reserved vocals. Just a gorgeous ZEPPELIN- like tune. "Drawing Down The Moon" might be my favourite song on here. It sounds like a lost track from the "Physical Graffiti" sessions. It's bluesy and heavy with some ripping guitar. A powerful tune. "Inanna" is Eastern sounding with vocals and drums as well. It kicks in heavier after 2 minutes. "Coming Home" opens with some great sounding intricate guitar work then it kicks in before settling back with vocals. It kicks in again as contrasts continue. "Walk With Me" is the over 14 minute closer. Lots of atmosphere early then reserved vocals come in after 1 1/2 minutes. It then turns powerful and picks up. A calm around 7 1/2 minues then piano and spoken words (Harper) come in with lazy guitar. Silence from after 10 minutes until just before it ends.

In my opinion this is their high-water mark by far. It all fell into place perfectly here. Not a single average track to be found. Essential !

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Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'The Edges Of Twilight' - The Tea Party (8/10)

While not having the same 'essential classic' quality as did the band's second album 'Splendor Solis', The Tea Party return with yet another excellent album here. 'The Edges Of Twilight' shows the band's sound taking a more modern twist, treading away from the highly Led Zeppelin-influenced sound. Although the band has changed up their sound here though, they have retained many of the same elements that made them an exciting listen in the first place, most notably their dives into world music. While 'The Edges Of Twilight' may not have the same sense of cohesion as 'Splendor Solis', I do not find myself disappointed in the slightest by this chapter in The Tea Party's history, and to fans of progressive rock, this might just do the trick.

Instead of an almost purely classic rock sound, The Tea Party now steers their course into something that sounds alot more like modern alternative rock, with the Middle-Eastern tinge still intact. On top of the guitars taking a more grungy sound to then, Jeff Martin's vocal style seems to have moved in turn, moving a little farther from the Jim Morrison soundalike style he had earlier. With all of these developments in their sound though, they do seem to have lost the endearing vintage sound that I found myself being really drawn to. Luckily, The Tea Party's sense of songwriting is intact, as is their commendable skills of performance.

There are some exotic rockers here like 'The Bazaar' and 'Silence' which can get the blood pumping, while having some proggy charm to them that one might not typically associate with energetic music. In other words, for some of the more memorable tracks on the album, think of Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', with a few more spoonfuls of caffeine. Barring that, The Tea Party also shows their blues sounds here alot, with songs like 'Drawing Down The Moon' and 'Turn The Lamp Down Low', which are usually tastefully done, but of course tend to follow some very overdone conventions of the blues genre. The lyrics on these blues tracks are also fairly weak, as they are for much of the album. Fortunately though, the lyrics- which are still incredibly derivative of Zeppelin- are the only weak part of the equation here, and the rest of the music is quite well done.

'The Edges Of Twilight' is not the best output from this band, but The Tea Party does show some interesting developments here. While I cannot say I'm in favour of all of them, the fact that they are not content to simply remain in one place is a sure sign of a great group, and I am excited to hear what other developments they made later in their career.

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Posted Sunday, May 01, 2011 | Review Permalink

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