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THE TEA PARTY

Crossover Prog • Canada


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The Tea Party biography
1990 - The Tea Party consisting of Jeff Martin as lead vocals/lead guitar, Stuart Chatwood on bass and keyboards and Jeff Burrows on drums officially forms after a marathon jam session at Cherry Beach Rehearsal Studios on Toronto's waterfront.

1991 - The Tea Party release their first album independently. The self-titled debut was mainly distributed throughout Ontario and all 3500 original pressings sold out within a year.After this release, they were signed to Chrysalis and sold over a million copies of their official 1st release Splendor Solis, their most successful album to date.During the nineties the band did exstensive tours of both the USA and Canada and have developed something of a cult following.Transmission their studio release in 1997 is regarded as their most progressive album to date sharing a myriad of sound influences.They are widely regarded as one of Canada's most prominent bands and in 2007 they released their first official DVD of live material.

The Tea Party official website

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Buy THE TEA PARTY Music


Ocean at the EndOcean at the End
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.79
Live from AustraliaLive from Australia
Linus Entertainment 2012
Audio CD$11.22
$8.84 (used)
Tea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in Australia [Blu-ray]Tea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in Australia [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray · DTS Surround Sound
Linus Entertainment 2012
Blu-ray$15.95
$27.63 (used)
Edges of TwilightEdges of Twilight
Capitol 1995
Audio CD$6.24
$1.37 (used)
Splendor SolisSplendor Solis
Import
Chrysalis/ EMI Music Canada 1994
Audio CD$9.81
$0.23 (used)
Tea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in AustraliaTea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in Australia
Multiple Formats · DTS Surround Sound
Linus Entertainment 2012
DVD$10.26
$16.89 (used)
Tea Party CollectionTea Party Collection
Import
Wea Int'l 2000
Audio CD$9.16
$4.94 (used)
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More places to buy THE TEA PARTY music online Buy THE TEA PARTY & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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THE TEA PARTY shows & tickets


  • The Tea Party + The Superjesus at Crown Theatre, Perth on 9 Oct 2014
  • The Tea Party at Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide on 11 Oct 2014
  • The Tea Party + The Superjesus at Enmore Theatre, Enmore on 15 Oct 2014
  • The Tea Party + Superjesus at ANU Bar, Canberra on 17 Oct 2014
  • The Tea Party + The Superjesus at Towradgi Beach Hotel, Wollongong, NSW on 18 Oct 2014

THE TEA PARTY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE TEA PARTY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.40 | 11 ratings
The Tea Party
1991
4.01 | 38 ratings
Splendor Solis
1993
4.15 | 63 ratings
The Edges of Twilight
1995
3.25 | 25 ratings
Transmission
1997
3.92 | 32 ratings
Triptych
1999
3.88 | 24 ratings
The Interzone Mantras
2001
3.12 | 24 ratings
Seven Circles
2004
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Ocean At The End
2014

THE TEA PARTY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE TEA PARTY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.80 | 5 ratings
The Reformation Tour
2012

THE TEA PARTY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Icon
2014

THE TEA PARTY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE TEA PARTY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Ocean At The End by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.33 | 12 ratings

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The Ocean At The End
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by jsmidg

3 stars Welcome back guys.Can't believe no reviews yet of this major come back moment but I feel honored to start ! Don't expect anything elaborate or pretentious(apart from this opening) but just an honest down to earth appraisal of this, frankly, slightly disappointing release. And it's not really prog in it's true sense - just prog elements.

They've been doing their 'own thing' for a while + Jeff Martin has made a few 'watered down' versions of Tea Party albums since their split, but after almost a decade apart you would imagine they'd come back with stronger material than this - admittedly there are a few excellent tracks but the overall feel is of a reduced abundance of melodies (which was always their strong point), reduced number of high points, and an obvious attempt in some places to re-create a sound similar to what they produced in the 90s. I loved how all their previous albums were so different - I even loved 'Seven Stars' (regularly abused) which to me was a 'beefed up' stab at mainstream recognition which I don't blame Jeff Martin for - because that had some great melodies and many highlights. OK enough rambling, lets analyse :

1. The L.O.C. : Excellent opener - which isn't always a Tea Party strong point - ref.'Touch' from 'Triptych'. Reminds me of 'Song remains the same' in parts. 'Galloping' style beat with great bass work. Very rocky...very Zeppelin..and very good news! (Thanks Ade Edmondson) 9/10

2. Black Sea : Reasonable. Jungle rhythm opening followed by heavy and fairly ' doomy' rock . It's fairly predictable, and the Black Sea lyric delivery is painful to my ears. Some good moments though and a nice solo. 7.5/10

3. Cypher : Nice atmospheric opening but then degenerates into a slightly 'leaden' rock work out - sounds like an outtake from 'Transmission' sessions in a way. Has some redeeming features but ultimately nothing uplifting (maybe the instrumental bit from 2:45..but it's far too short). 7/10

4. The Maker : WTF. To me this is truly awful. It's sounds like a sickly attempt at a hit single. A poor man's 'Watcher' etc. Guys- what were you thinking ! So predictable and bland - but a good solo at the end which doubles it's score. 4/10

5. Black Rose: At last something to cherish again. And some acoustic guitar opening it - which I think is sadly lacking throughout the album. You could say the track's a bit formulaic but it's superbly executed and oozes melody and class. In places Martin really lets his voice rip like the old days - real passion and emotion. 8.5/10.

6. Brazil : Oops, nice idea but another album low point for me. Basically a rock song with little melody. It has some good beefy guitar sections, however the track is regularly punctuated by what I can only describe as Amazonian chanting/groaning. Look, I'm all for a bit of variation but this doesn't work. 5/10

7. 11th Hour : Thankfully things start to get more consistent in 2nd half of the album. Good fairly heavy track this - would have fitted on 'Twilight' quite easily. Martin's voice again full of that passion I love. Further Zeppelin sounding moments here too (never a bad thing usually).8.5/10

8.Submission : The opening really sounds like Gary Numen circa 'Cars' (honest), and a 'Transmission' feel here. I like Numen-but if you don't then you may dislike this. It's generally heavy with that keyboard feel appearing regularly. 7.5/10

9. Cass Corridor : Initially sounds like it's going to be a tedious up tempo standard rock track - but it has real energy and great 'Hey man' chorus from Martin ( very 'Suffragette City'). Short and fairly sweet. 7.5/10

10. Water's on fire : At first I thought ''oh my god - not another 'Maker' !'' But thankfully it isn't - and this one really developes and houses the albums stellar chorus. Martin screams out the short beautiful chorus to make any rock fan go weak at the knees! Ha. Superb guitar solo too. My favorite track. 9.5/10

11. Ocean at the End : When I first heard this a few weeks ago on the naughty web, it sounded a bit lame and 'Tea Party' by numbers. But now it sounds great! Maybe something to do with following the previous track - they work well together. Longest track, which starts very atmospheric with sound of waves/keyboard, and then Martin comes in with fairly haunting and laid back voice + we have that rare breed : a long Tea Party guitar solo - which is very bluesy and superb. The ending is excellent as well - a total extra dimension to the track (vocals). 9.5/10

12. Into the Unknown : A quiet closing atmospheric keyboard track. Sounds like something Eno churned out by the crate load 20 or 30 years ago. Poorish to be honest and a bit confusing .Think it would have worked better if truncated and followed by another rock track opening with drums...but hey - what do I know and who do I think I am? 4/10

Generally this is a fairly good rock album with a few prog moments - but it's let down by a few poor tracks and lacks imagination in many places. I'm feeling there are opportunities to develop many tracks here and to have more instrumental sections : I love Martin's voice,especially when he lets that passion through, but there is an impression sometimes that he dominates things too often(apart from last track of course) . Still, if you are new to Tea Party music then this might seem a great album. It pleases me in many places too - just not the classic I expected.

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 Seven Circles by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.12 | 24 ratings

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Seven Circles
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings

2 stars Actually, I rather enjoy this album. So why am I giving it only two stars? Allow me to explain. Take three exquisitely talented musicians who are capable of combining folk with Led Zeppelin-inspired rock, electric and acoustic blues, heavy rock with world music, and industrial with heavy rock and world music and ask them to make a Nickleback record and the result might be something like "Seven Circles". Not that this is like Nickleback exactly. The Tea Party are not a heavy rock bar band who found international success repeating the same formula. They are more sophisticated than that. But this album is similar to the style of Nickleback in that it is mostly four to five-minute heavy rockers without much of what made the Tea Party so interesting over their first six albums.

Now, I enjoy the heavy bombast and monster riffs, as well as the beautiful melodies of songs like "Oceans" and "The Watcher", and I always enjoy hearing Jeff Martin's unique voice which I believe to be one of the best voices in the rock world today. Certainly there are musical passages that you could expect to find on more developed prog albums. Why, just as I was listening to "Luxeria" I thought that part of this could have appeared in Haken's "Pareidolia" from their "The Mountain" album, or some of the heavy guitars with a bit of electronica could be from IQ's "Road of Bones". And the band haven't totally abandoned their world music sound nor their love for strings as we can still get a taste of these on some songs here and there.

No, the reason why I've given it only two stars is that as a prog album, well, it just isn't. Crossover prog might be a bit of a stretch but not entirely unreasonable. However, the album includes a few songs that are pretty much radio fodder, songs like "Writing's on the Wall," "Stargazer" and "Oceans", good though they are if you like heavy rock radio fare. You know, the kind where the chorus is sung over the same chord played for two bars, then another for two bars, and then a third for two bars, all in 4/4 time or 8/4 time. If you want a comparison, look to some of Saga's albums, which are nothing more than pop hard rock and have little more of interest ("Network" springs to mind).

Jeff Martin was against this move, I understand. He did not like this heavy radio rock approach and soon after quit the band. Martin went on and released some very good albums under the name of Jeff Martin, the Armada (with drummer Wayne Sheehy), and Jeff Martin 777, and now the Tea Party have regrouped and are releasing a new album shortly, hopefully true to their unique sound and not another rock album.

Ah, here we are at the end of the album, the title track, and at last we hear what the Tea Party were about, Middle Eastern instrumentation with heavy rock with hints of Led Zeppelin. Ah, well. I still think it's great album for what it is. I'll listen to it any day over Nickleback. But if you really what to hear what the Tea Party is about, check out "Splendor Solis", "The Edges of Twilight", or "The Interzone Mantras", or "Transmission" for their darker side.

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 The Interzone Mantras by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.88 | 24 ratings

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The Interzone Mantras
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings

4 stars The Tea Party have remained one of my favourite bands ever since I first heard 'Babylon' from their 1996 industrial-meets-eastern album, 'Transmission'. I loved that dark album, but it was some time before I bought the others. The band certainly changed over their career, but one thing that always remained was their interest in combining eastern sounds with western music.

'The Interzone Mantras' could be counted as the band's sixth album and eighth output, if you count their out-of-print and independently released 'The Tea Party' debut album as number one with the remix ep 'Alhambra' and the compilation 'Tangents' to make tIM number eight. After two albums ('Transmission' and 'Triptych') of mostly electric and electronic music, The Tea Party returns to their more organic roots here on tIM. The album opens with "Interzone", a hard-rocking tune backed with horns and some quick and tricky drumming. The guitar chords change swiftly and the song is a race to keep up with. The music is a nod to their Led Zeppelin influence with singer Jeff Martin's distinct voice still sounding reminiscent of Jim Morrison, something I am sure he has as yet to live down.

'Angels' is slower and mellower with a powerful chorus. This was the big single off the album as I recall. Acoustic guitar opens 'The Master and Margarita' and is joined by what sounds like a Mellotron before the electric guitar rocks in. The following track, 'Apathy' opens with a haunting mood until the horns join the simple beat. By the chorus the song erupts with the full electric band and horns.

'Soulbreaking' is the real ballad of the album with some beautiful guitar and real strings supporting the band. The song gently builds with guitar and strings first, then drums and bass join after the first pre-chorus while the strings add a melancholy sweetness, and then the heavy guitar comes in for the first real chorus. The heaviness eases off as the strings continue in beautiful bittersweet sound. Another heavy chorus and the gently guitar notes are now full electric and then jump up an octave to bring the song to its climax in the last minute. It's a powerful and stirring song.

You won't be lulled to sleep by 'Lullaby' which begins with a music box tune getting warped. Another song with an eerie beginning and heavy chorus. 'Must Must' gives us a mid-tempo heavy song with strings, a bit like Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' during the intro and chorus but taking a different turn for the verses. A female vocalist provides backing vocals with powerful effect.

'White Water Siren' starts off sounding like something from Led Zeppelin III and the strings are here too. I think there is no Mellotron on this album at all, just real strings. In any case, the acoustic/electric rock with strings sounds very cool.

'Cathartik' is one of my favourite tracks off the album and in the band's catalogue. It's for the most part another eerie electric song, but with some excellent percussive work and many changes as the song works its way through. The bass figures prominently during the verses. Then there's that incredible heavy part followed by Jeff Martin's most vigorous guitar solo in a long time. The heavy riff closes the song.

By now, the eerie theme has set the tone for the album. 'Dust to Gold' keeps the heavy chorus custom while drums and a spooky keyboard sound support the verse music. The keyboard ends the song and fades into the empty haunting choir(-like? real?) intro of 'Requiem'. Piano and acoustic guitar with a wavy wash of electric guitar chords provide the music at first until the distorted guitar joins in and dominates. This song is another powerful composition, heavy, haunting, and moody, with a brighter, uplifting passage at the chorus. Strings are a wonderful welcome addition to the music as they help carry the song to its soaring conclusion. Warning: listening to this while driving might blow the roof off the car or your mind.

The finale to this rather impressive recording should easily be one of the Tea Party's anthemic pieces, ranking up there with 'Sister Awake'. 'Mantra' is an 8-minute master piece of heavy rock and eastern music fused together. An orchestra of eastern instruments, percussive instruments, and Martin's own collection of exotic eastern stringed instruments all star with Jeff Burrows doing an amazing job on drums and percussion. The song leads to a tension-filled middle that erupts into a heavy guitar riff with piano and eastern-sounding strings while the vocals howl like some mad desert cry of agony. The music winds down with Jeff Martin saying, 'Alright. Alright' and the band finish up with a swipe and a broken grinding halt while the eastern instruments wail and whine to a finish. It's a song that can make you feel like you've just come through some vigorous trance experience.

The album is overall really good in my opinion, with tracks like 'Soulbreaking', 'Cathartik', 'Requiem' and 'Mantra' clearly showing the band back at the helm of excellent song-writing and organic playing. Sadly after this, the band would pursue a more commercial sound on the next and final album 'Seven Circles'. Though there were some excellent heavy rock songs there, Jeff Martin was very dissatisfied with that direction and quit the band and moved to Ireland where he began his solo career, first as Jeff Martin, then with his project The Armada, and currently as Jeff Martin 777, no doubt adding the 777 so as not to be confused with Jeff Martin of Racer X who also has some solo albums.

This album is easily 4 stars in my opinion and I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone wanted to give it five. For a heavy rock album a-la-70's with brass and strings and eastern music to boot, this one is worth checking out!

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 Splendor Solis by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.01 | 38 ratings

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Splendor Solis
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I got this album shortly after being blown away by 'The Edges of Twilight' and initially I was a bit disappointed, the songs are more intimate and melancholic and probably less immediate. Whatever the reason, it's turned out to be a pleasure experience revisiting the album and to discover and enjoy the fine musicianship and honest emotion that smoulders underneath.

If you've already read one single review about this band then you will probably have read that this band found themselves a spot in between the Doors and Led Zeppelin, and in fact, I find no better way to describe them neither, whether they like that themselves or not. The music largely reminds of Led Zeppelin, with huge pounding drums, folksy acoustic guitars, soaring electric ones, influences from Middle-Eastern music, a sound like a house, and so on. Add the emotion of Jim Morrison to that and you got an idea of what these guys sound like. Luckily, their songs are never derivative, at least, I don't find any moment hear that makes me want to stand up and shout plagiarism!

I was initially a bit underwhelmed by this album, but time has proven me wrong. This is a strong collection of psychedelic/blues/rock songs that should please fans of 70s heavy rock and heavy prog. Recommended.

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 Transmission by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.25 | 25 ratings

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Transmission
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 The Edges of Twilight by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.15 | 63 ratings

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The Edges of Twilight
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by 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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 Triptych by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.92 | 32 ratings

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Triptych
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars In retrospect Triptych may not quite garner the amount of reverence as The Tea Party's earlier efforts, but back in 1999 it was the band's biggest hit to date and Heaven Coming Down was a radio staple. Unlike the three previous albums, Triptych doesn't identify itself with one overall musical impression. Splendor Solis had the 70s rock, Edges Of Twilight incorporated more world influences into its rock sound, and Transmission went for the industrial goth alternative approach. With this album, the band incorporates various aspects of their previous efforts into a warmer and more approachable sound, certainly more so than the moody (and eventually tiring) Transmission, with successful results and a few gems in the mix as well.

The album starts off with a heavy 'crossover prog' sound, real fuzzy guitar tone over interesting drum patterns, Jeff's brooding vocals and a mellotron shows up for the chorus (gotta have a mellotron!). The album won't remain heavy, in fact it's probably the band's 'softest' release, which is actually still pretty loud compared to other rock acts. This album also does not ditch the Eastern instrumentation and musical excursions, particularly on the heavy and excellent The Halcyon Days. A few songs such as the opener and A Slight Attack could have easily felt right at home on Transmission, some towards the latter half of the album The Tea Party were clearly going for a more vibrant sweeping sound that added an entirely new dimension for the band.

Taking Me Away is quite a number. Jeff's vocals here are magnificent, showing improvement in range and technique from his earlier Jim Morrison impressions (not that his singing back then was by any stretch of the imagination, bad) and his delivery is strong and emotional. The drumming is jazzy, and the overall lushness of the track gives the song a naturally soaring sensation. Brilliant. The two follow up songs are great (if not as amazing) as well, bolstered by epic choruses and a genuine passionate delivery.

I've heard that Jeff himself doesn't look back too fondly concerning Heaven Coming Down these days despite its success; it did seem like a rather simple and radio friendly number, but I must admit that overriding guitar melody is undeniably gorgeous...and besides, the lyrics are pretty "Aleister Crowley-esque", which is pretty cool. The Messenger was another well known song for the band, a folksy cover that's also simple yet well composed.

Luckily, those looking for progressive elements in the band's sound here will still find songs such as Great Big Lie and Samsara completely suited to their needs. There's a lot of variation to this effort as well, more so than on previous affairs, while retaining that Tea Party vibe of Eastern influences, a little industrial edge, a chock full of 70s attitude, and some earnest alternative sensibilities. One of the band's highpoints as far as I'm concerned.

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 Splendor Solis by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.01 | 38 ratings

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Splendor Solis
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars I remember these guys very well. They were often compared to Zeppelin musically and singer Jeff Martin's voice was compared to Jim Morrison. He hated that. Obviously they were going for a 'retro' sound, specifically the late '60s/early '70s period. They were not the only group doing this in the early 1990s, but they were one of the best at it. This was The Tea Party's second album but first on a major label. This includes some songs re-recorded from the independent debut album, which I assume was only available in Canada. I have always loved "The River" with it's great use of wah-wah guitar. Great drumming too. I love the middle section with a Middle-Eastern flavoured guitar solo. "Midsummer Day" picks up when the drums enter, at which point it sounds very Zeppelinesque. Gets more interesting and original sounding towards the end. "A Certain Slant Of Light" starts with some great tremoloed guitar. Good bass playing at first. Awesome chorus with a great riff during it. Some good intricate guitar playing in this song. "Winter Solstice" is a nice acoustic instrumental, again very Zeppelinesque.

"Save Me" is probably the most well known song from this album. Great drumming and great singing during the chorus. "Raven Skies" is one of the better songs here. Off and on you hear the sound of some kind of Middle-Eastern wind instrument. Great chorus which features another great riff. In the middle goes into some kind of a 'Latin' rhythm. Later some spacey synth sounds before the song kicks back into gear. Some sitar at the end. "Haze On The Hills" is another acoustic instrumental, not quite as enjoyable as "Winter Solstice" though. "The Majestic Song" continues where "Haze" left off. Then full band comes in. The singing style is catchy. More intricate guitar playing.

This is my favourite album by these guys but I never thought of them as being too proggy. If you like hard rock heavily influenced by Zeppelin and Middle-Eastern music, then this may be for you. They got more popular (in Canada anyway) after this but I don't think they ever topped it. 3 stars.

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 Splendor Solis by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.01 | 38 ratings

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Splendor Solis
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Splendor Solis' - The Tea Party (9/10)

Here's a completely blind purchase I made; based on the album cover and a few words of encouragement from the record store owner, I picked up The Tea Party's 'Splendor Solis' out of the discount bin and brought it home. While I have been often duped by my constant hope that I will find a new great band I've never heard before from those discount bins, there is always the rare album like 'Splendor Solis' that keeps me coming back. Although very clearly influenced by a couple of bands that covered their ground back in the '60s and '70s, The Tea Party manages to take the classic rock sound and give it a modern do-over, which on its own is a worthy feat. Besides that, the album is a feast of organic sounds, clever songwriting and powerful performance; in other words, a perfect introduction to this band.

While the classic rock sound has been coming back as of late, The Tea Party does it with conviction. When describing the sound of the band, the best way to compare them would be as a cross between the instrumentation of Led Zeppelin and the vocals of Jim Morrison, from the Doors. Of course, The Tea Party has something of their own style, but a newcomer to their sound might not recognize it at first. Regardless, whatever The Tea Party does, they do incredibly well. From the Middle-Eastern tinge of 'The River' to the charming pastoral acoustics of 'Midsummer Day' to the proggy beauty of 'A Certain Slant Of Light', there is always something new being explored with the sound.

For the instrumentation, there are many Jimmy Pageisms and other Led Zeppelin inspired material here. 'Winter Solstice' is a short acoustic ditty that could have easily been mistaken as a Page solo piece. 'Sun Going Down' is very close in sound to Zeppelin's 'When The Levee Breaks'. Luckily, the songwriting and power the band maintains keeps things well worth a listen, despite the fact that this is not such an original work. Usually innovation is key to making a masterpiece, but The Tea Party does the classic rock sound so well that the album quality of 'Splendor Solis' is undeniable to me.

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 Transmission by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.25 | 25 ratings

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Transmission
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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