Thursday, September 18, 2014


At first it seemed like The Tea Party reunion was for live shows, with successful tours of Canada and Australia (the group's other big market), and a live album and DVD.  But promises were made and kept, and the group is now seemingly in it for the long haul, throwing just as much work into the new album as the road show.  While most bands, after 10 years apart, aren't able to recapture past glories or move on to new ones, The Ocean At The End is more than a strong return.  It actually does the job of tightening up all the little bits of influences The Tea Party had back in the 90's, and streamlines the group's sound in a way that could open up a different and positive second act.

The band always had a Middle-Eastern influence, too much at times, as it overshadowed the rest of the story.  That's been pushed way down for this album, in favour of rock, lots of rock.  You have Jeff Martin's deep vocals, Jeff Burrows' great (rock) rhythms and explosive playing, and Stuart Chatwood's keyboard and bass textures.  The music is never three chords of simplicity; they are still making complex, layered structures, but the music punches all the way through.  I don't remember Martin sounding so devilish before, but maybe that's the hellfire that rears up behind him in places.  There are gentler moments as well, including a faithful remake of Daniel Lanois' The Maker.  But The Black Sea, well, that's near-Death Metal.  And bonus points for getting Ian Anderson (Tull, you know) to the flute honours on the title cut.  A surprisingly welcome return.


  1. As a 20 year fan I am impressed and thankful. The Tea Party is still at the top of their game with lots of fuel in the tank.