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The Tea Party

Crossover Prog

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The Tea Party Transmission album cover
3.50 | 44 ratings | 3 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Temptation (3:25)
2. Army Ants (3:33)
3. Psychopomp (5:17)
4. Gyroscope (2:56)
5. Alarum (4:58)
6. Release (4:05)
7. Transmission (5:17)
8. Babylon (2:50)
9. Pulse (4:09)
10. Emerald (4:51)
11. Aftermath (5:43)

Total Time 49:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Martin / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, producer
- Stuart Chatwood / bass
- Jeff Burrows / drums, percussion

Note: Instrumentation is only generic, full credits not available at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: "The Earth We Inherit" by Stuart Chatwood

CD EMI Music Canada ‎- 7243 8 55308 2 1 (Canada, 1997)

Thanks to prisonburg for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE TEA PARTY Transmission ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE TEA PARTY Transmission reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars After two very successful albums in the same style it's not surprising that for this 1997 release they decided to change things up a bit.They really had taken that Middle Eastern flavoured Rock to it's highest level. So on "Transmission" we stiil get that ethnic flavour but it is scaled back somewhat. And they've added electronics and a darker vibe especially on the second half of this album. I've read names like NINE INCH NAILS and terms like gothic and electronica to describe the flavour here.

"Temptation" is all about the killer rhythm section.This song was all over the radio back in the day. A good start. "Army Ants" features some strange instrument that comes and goes. Jeff's vocals are different here as he almost yells at times. Not a fan of this one. "Psychopomp" opens with experimental sounds as intricate guitar then reserved vocals join in. Keyboards too, then a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes.The vocals and sound become more passionate after 3 1/2 minutes. "Gyroscope" kicks in quickly with that Eastern flavour and vocals. "Alarum" is dark as the vocals and drums arrive.This is still a catchy mid-paced tune though.

"Release" opens with the synths washing in and out as a beat with vocals join in. "Transmission" is a top two song for me.Vocals, percussion and that ethnic vibe around a minute. A fuller sound kicks in after 2 minutes and the contrasts will continue. "Babylon" has a dark,industrial feel to it. It ends with electronics, a beat and piano. "Pulse" is my favourite track. I just dig that heavy beat with vocals. "Emerald" opens with strummed guitar as reserved vocals and a beat join in just before a minute. It's fuller before 3 minutes. "Aftermath" opens with atmosphere as almost spoken vocals come in. A beat follows in this dark track.

If you want to hear this band i'd strongly suggest "The Edges Of Twilight" as a starting point then come to this one later on just to hear how they had changed.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Transmission' - The Tea Party (5/10)

After two excellent albums with 'Splendor Solis' and 'The Edge Of Twilight', The Tea Party had already throughly impressed me. A Canadian hard rock trio which really takes after classic rock bands like The Doors and Led Zeppelin, they would make heavy use of ethnic instrumentation to give their music an added flair. This band has always been set on reinventing themselves however, and with their fourth album 'Transmission', the music shows the band take another new turn. Exchanging much of their organic and exotic sound for a more modern rock-based vibe, 'Transmission' does appear to be an album that caters to a somewhat different audience than before. Although the change is not entirely without its merits and it is impressive to hear a band overhaul their sound so much, The Tea Party does seem to have lost much of their charm in the process.

In what I consider to be The Tea Party's masterpiece, 'Splendor Solis' sported some very vintage sounds, potentially verging on Led Zeppelin worship. Even so, the lack of originality in the band's sound did not prevent them from delivering an incredibly warm musical experience, and this isn't something I am feeling with 'Transmission'. The most notable difference in the sound is actually with the production. Things are of no higher fidelity soundwise here, but instead, the music sounds like it was mixed to sound like an industrial rock band, a la Nine Inch Nails. On top of this, plenty of electronic beats and studio fine- tuning can be heard here, which is not inherently a bad thing, but it does rob The Tea Party of their strongest asset, being their warm, exotic charm.

In terms of the songwriting, things are much more guitar based this time around, and conventional. Although the progressive rock influence can still be heard through mellotrons and the like, each song here is fundamentally pop in nature, focusing more on heavy, anthemic structures rather than complex instrumentation. Jeff Martin's voice is used much more aggressive, often reaching a holler, and this also feels like a misstep on the band's part. However, 'Transmission' keeps many of the songwriting chops intact. Especially towards the lighter elements of the album in such songs as 'Psychopomp', 'Aftermath,' or my favourite track 'Emerald', there is still some strong material to be heard. Although 'Transmission' still has some good material to offer and The Tea Party hasn't completely lost themselves on me here, the album pales and disappoints when compared to their previous two albums.

Review by russellk
4 stars The follow-up to the wildly impressive 'The Edge Of Twilight' is a calculated change of direction. You have to admire a band for opting out of a reprise when their formula has reached its pinnacle. THE TEA PARTY does just that by introducing samples, loops and other techniques garnished from the electronica/IDM scene that was cresting at the time. The result is 'Transmission', an album that continues the band's excellent songwriting and performance.

Unlike their earlier albums, this is a slab of top-quality music with no weaknesses - but fewer strengths also. There's no 'Sister Awake' or even 'Save Me', but there are searing rockers (and I mean searing: 'Temptation', 'Pulse' and 'Gyroscope' stick their fingers in your ears and try to gouge out your eardrums) and intriguing, superbly original tracks, such as the title track. This track begins with electronic feedback overlain by what sounds like a sample of a Jim Jones rant, joined by a thunderous Arabic beat, a Mellotron, an Eastern flute and MARTIN's vocal rasp. The song doesn't take full advantage of such an intriguing beginning (which is a complaint one could levy at most of the tracks on this album) but it is wildly atmospheric and needs to be heard to be believed. To my mind this is exactly what a progressive band needed to do in the 90s - take from the dominant musical cultures to flavour their own work.

And those flavours are stolen without apology. After fifty seconds of exactly what you'd expect, the opening track ('Temptation') is subverted by a pulsing beat one reviewer describes as reminiscent of 'When The Levee Breaks' but is in fact lifted straight from 'Minniapolis' an obscure 1992 Lemon Interupt (later to be Underworld) track. This sot of thing wins my admiration even though it comes at the cost of much of the Arabic/Eastern feel.

In a decade where 'progressive' music was by and large taking place outside normal 'prog rock' circles, it was refreshing to see bands like THE TEA PARTY reinventing themselves.

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