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Finally, after reforming in 2011, The Tea Party have decided to release some new recordings in the form of their eighth studio album. ‘The Ocean at the End’ comes ten years after their last studio album in 2004, ‘Seven Circles,‘ and right away the band seem refreshed, opener The LoC is energetic, frantic even, with enough of the middle eastern influences that run rampant through the band’s music, with a slight classic rock feel to some of the guitar tones and riffs.
Those of us in Australia have probably had a fair bit of exposure to frontman Jeff Martin’s softer side thanks to the number of acoustic tours he had undertaken since becoming a resident, which is why it is refreshing to hear him get a little heavier on tracks like The Black Sea which is driven by down tuned, distorted guitars and a weighty chorus.
That’s not to say that things don’t chill out when necessary, the melodic acoustic riff of Black Roses is an album highlight as Martin seems to give a lot more attention to the catchy elements of the songs this time around. There are several moments throughout this record will stick in your mind despite the fact that lyrical Martin drops the ball a little with safe syncopations and rhymes like “Let’s have another glass of wine/I’m sure we have the time.”
The percussion steals the spotlight in Brazil with rolling verses and broken chorus lines before some huge bass fuzz in Submission, a song that sounds unlike anything Tea Party have done before, in a good way.
The album’s title track sets a slow groove and takes its time to build up to an interesting synth laden outro and some seagulls, because the song is about the ocean you know. The record closes with Into The Unknown, another slow builder that essentially eventuates into nothing and honestly could have been left out.
The Tea Party have managed to perfectly toggle the line of old and new meaning that reforming wasn’t pointless. There are certainly a few ideas here that seem a little out of touch but for the most part these songs are worthy additions to their impressive back catalogue.
1. The L.O.C
2. The Black Sea
4. The Maker
5. Black Roses
7. The 11th Hour
9. The Cass Corridor
10. Water’s On Fire
11. The Ocean at the End
12. Into The Unknown