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Old 03-07-2010, 04:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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100. The Tea Party - Transmission (1997)



Track Listing:

01. Temptation
02. Army Ants
03. Psychopomp
04. Gyroscope
05. Alarum
06. Release
07. Transmission
08. Babylon
09. Pulse
10. Emerald
11. Aftermath

Genre: Hard Rock


The Tea Party was a Canadian rock band that was active from 1990 - 2005 with Seven Circles being their final album. The Tea Party consisted of Jeff Martin (Vocals/Guitar), Stuart Chatwood (Bass), and Jeff Burrows (drums). Out of all the popular rock bands to come out of Canada during the '90's (Sloan, Big Sugar, Our Lady Peace), The Tea Party were one of the most experimental in their sounds. While they were best known for the 1999 single "Heaven Coming Down" off their 5th album Triptych, I was always more fond of their earlier albums.

The Tea Party's early material was heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and Indian music, utilizing foreign instruments like sitars, sarods, and goblet drums in their music. This really helped differentiate themselves from the legions of other alternative rock bands attempting to make a name for themselves in the '90's. Their 1995 album, The Edges of Twilight started this trend, with Transmission continuing the trend and adding electronic elements to the sound.

Transmission has always been my favorite Tea Party album, with each member at the height of their game. Jeff Martin's baritone voice is both soothing and commanding, leaving you hanging onto every word he is saying, making following the lyrics very easy. Adding the electronic undertones to their already downtuned instruments works very well, leaving you wondering what is electronically done and what is just downtuned fuzzy goodness.

In terms of writing, it is probably Jeff Martin's best effort to date (although I have yet to check out his solo material). The lyrics lean towards a melon collie feel, yet the deliver adds this glimmer that not all is wasted and that there is hope in the world. The ability to balance both the shit that comes with life, and the willpower to not only face it but overcome it is rare in a lot of song writers.

The tracks all flow into each other quite nicely and none of them feel like they're artificially lengthened, ending often when you expect them to. Only a few slower songs on the album exist and even then they're quite melodic and enjoyable.

Honestly in all truth this album should be on everyone's hard drive if they were born between the 1970's - 2000. It encompasses so much of the '90's in it, yet is hardly ever mentioned because it is Canadian and therefore deemed unimportant in the grand scheme of music. If you wrote off The Tea Party after hearing the overplayed "Heaven Coming Down" song, then you're doing yourself a disservice. The Tea Party fit a very peculiar niche in the music market, straddling that fine line between good music and mainstream music, finding a unique balance in the middle. Certainly worth a look if you're unfamiliar with the band in general or only familiar with their later material.


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Old 03-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wah I think I really would have liked this type of music a few years ago (well tastes change..) How come I've never heard of them? Did they ever make it big outside of Canada?
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I gave Seven Circles a bit of a listen a few months back and didn't really enjoy it but maybe I'll check out some older material. I saw them open for Def Leppard (I think) years ago but I don't vividly recall the performance. I did enjoy their use of electric upright bass and theremin though.

I gave Future Perfect another listen today and it's definitely a solid album. I remember being hooked on the song 'Blanket' for a while a couple years ago.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Seven Circles to me was more of a "fuck it" album than anything else. Probably made to fulfill their contract with EMI and at that point the creative differences were already well in full effect.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Oh jeez...Tea Party? Loved the first choice...blindsided by the second. EVERY album sounds the same, just buy one.
They waaay overdue the "creative musician" gig...

I go on a baby punching spree every time I hear them.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I will admit that their albums do follow a similar sound, but I believe that to be more about trying to fulfill a desired tone that they didn't quite hone in on on their previous albums. I do have to commend them for managing to become a mainstream act without trying to sound like The Tragically Hip or becoming the Canadian version of Bush (although to be fair there already was a Canadian band called Bush at the time so all of the British Bush CD's have an X at the end of their name in Canada). They found a style that suited their sound and Jeff Martin's vocals, but if it makes you feel any better I have far better underground Canadian rock groups higher up on my list.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
I will admit that their albums do follow a similar sound, but I believe that to be more about trying to fulfill a desired tone that they didn't quite hone in on on their previous albums. I do have to commend them for managing to become a mainstream act without trying to sound like The Tragically Hip or becoming the Canadian version of Bush (although to be fair there already was a Canadian band called Bush at the time so all of the British Bush CD's have an X at the end of their name in Canada). They found a style that suited their sound and Jeff Martin's vocals, but if it makes you feel any better I have far better underground Canadian rock groups higher up on my list.
Cool, I look forward to it. Id have to say my fav Canadian band would be 54-40.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I tried The Tea Party's album Splendor Solis sometime last year and couldn't get into it. I thought the instrumentals were good enough, but didn't like the singer's style at all. It's like a mix of Live's singer (can't stand them) and Jim Morrison.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Splendor Solis was certainly one of their weaker CD's. I would recommend giving Transmission a try if you can get past Jeff Martin's voice you may just enjoy it. Again though, this isn't a "101 Best albums in the world", just "101 albums that I like and so might you".
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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The Tea Party sounded like they might be worth a download, wasn't too fussed on your first choice. Still, pretty stoked to see the rest of your list, i've quite enjoyed a lot of the music you've recommended on this site and the blogs in your sig... assuming they're your blogs.
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