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

THE INTERZONE MANTRAS

The Tea Party

 

Crossover Prog

3.59 | 36 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A classic case of misleading advertising. One look at the album cover and title and you'd be forgiven for thinking THE TEA PARTY have returned to their glory days of beautiful Eastern melodies. But they have not. These are not mantras. Shiva does not appear as guest vocalist on any track. Drat.

With this album THE TEA PARTY settle firmly into their post-'Transmission' album formula. Really, this review is largely interchangeable with any of their four most recent albums. And that's a shame: there's no surprises left. It happens to virtually every band - but one can hope...

So. Hard rocker to open, a couple of mid-tempo ballads as singles separated by a few stronger (but interchangeable) numbers. After about five or six tracks, pull out a sequence of three excellent tracks lightly dusted in the glamour that made them a candidate for Crossover Prog: a bit of Arabic melody and rhythm, an oud or a sitar or a tambla drum, a flash of LED ZEPPELIN tinsel (there's a guitar figure in 'Angels' that'll arrest your attention if you're a ZEP fan, and 'Must Must' is yet another return to that troubled Himalayan province, you know the one I mean). Save the most progressive track for the end. Result: an album much more Crossover than Prog. Rinse and repeat.

But.

They are so very good at it.

Crunchy riffs (Exhibit A: 'The Master & Margarita'), superb rhythm section (Exhibit B: 'Apathy'). The occasional surprise (the delicious, sumptuous horns in Exhibit B) and outright brilliance (Exhibit C: the entirety of 'White Water Siren', but especially the chorus riff, oooooh) make this an album I play again and again, albeit in reduced form as a 40-minute playlist. Two songs ('Apathy' and 'White Water Siren') make it on to my 50-minute Best Of THE TEA PARTY playlist. Write more of this stuff, guys! To me, all this adds up to a solid three-star album.

But with a more liberal sprinkling of prog dust it could have been so much more.

russellk | 3/5 |

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