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The Tea Party - 'The Ocean At The End' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3f/28/e9/The-Tea-Party-The-Ocean-At-The-End-53-1420487367.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 05, 2015    
 
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This is thoughtful, mature left field Rock, Progressive in its true sense.

Maybe every band should have a ten year break if The Tea Party's return is anything to go by. For their eighth album, the Canadian Alt-Rockers have come up with an album that's full of TTP's trademarks, only more mature, and maturity is something that suits this type of more cerebral, sombre band. There's no denying that TTP sound a lot like Led Zeppelin; big riffs and epic tunes that sound like something that would fit on 'Physical Graffiti'. Only, of course there's much more to them than that. Jeff Martin's baritone voice gives it an alternative, darker sombre sound. It's like Zep only fronted by Nick Cave experimenting with eastern soundscapes. These multi-instrumentalists offer up something different on every track.

The bristling 'The L.O.C' gets things off to an upbeat start but it's the following track 'The Black Sea' with its dark riff and heady atmosphere that ebbs and flows as a black sea might which really sets the tone; this Gothic evocation is what the band do best. 'Cypher' taps into the band's Middle Eastern side with a vibe that sits shoulder to shoulder with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's 'Unledded' record. It's a shape shifting track that conjures up a camel caravan moving across a desert.

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The acoustic ballad, a cover of Daniel Lanois' 'The Maker', is underpinned by organ and has a vocal that is pure Plant in terms of phrasing. Just listen to the line "watch it unfold beautiful lady" for proof, although Martin's tone is very different from Plant's. 'Brazil' has tribal rhythms, a furrowed brow and a good meaty riff that dips in and out of the song about the fortunes of South America's largest country (not your average Rock subject). It then shows the other sides of the band on the electronic 'Submission' with its retro 1980s keyboard sound,and then on the Rock 'n' Roll of 'The Cass Corridor' replete with harmonica and a song about a "skinny little white boy, he wants to kick out the jams".

However, perhaps the best is saved for the title track; the eight minute offering laps around your toes at the beginning before the wind gets underneath it and helps it float up like a seagull carried by the wind. I can live without the five minute electronic drone at the end of the disc ('Into The Unknown') which is about four and a half minutes too long. That aside, this is thoughtful, mature left field Rock, Progressive in its true sense.

Duncan Jamieson

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