THE TEA CLUB

(UNITED STATES)

IF/WHEN

(2019)
LABEL:

AUTOPRODUCTION

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Folk
"Original band with demanding progressive music, The Tea Club could finally get the recognition it deserves with this more affordable and melodically unstoppable "If/When"."
NUNO777 (13.11.2019)  
4/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
For lovers of original progressive rock and demanding the name The Tea Club has a special resonance. In four albums, the Americans have created a bold and protean rock in constant evolution. Appreciated or rejected for the same reasons, The Tea Club is likely to be talked about once again with this fifth album "If/When".

This album follows the excellent but difficult "Grappling" in which The Tea Club had pushed its creativity to its limits in terms of harmonic complexities, thematic variations and vocal virtuosities. The quintet could have followed a continuous trajectory and abounded in a creativity that has made it unique. But that would be to contradict their's own philosophy. In the past, The Tea Club enjoyed a certain comfort in letting inspiration spread unobstructed. The New Jersey natives chose to rethink everything and impose constraints on themselves in order to put themselves in real danger. Producer Jeff Adderman, successor of Tim Gilles who had followed all the band's albums until today, will propose to the Americans to purify their compositions and put harmonic efficiency at the center of the writing. This will result in an important folk and mid-tempo component, a careful attention to arrangements and an obvious melodic search purged of all the elements of dissonance of which The Tea Club has made itself a renowned linguist.

"If/When" can be read in two parts, the first being made up of fairly conventional song formats with an alternation of folk modalities and more dynamic rock tracks. In the pop folk section there is the introduction on a drake-like tone with the heartbreaking "The Way You Call", the melancholic and orchestrated "If I Mean When", the delightfully retro and catchy "Came At A Loss" or "Sinking Ship" with its irresistible melodic charms. "Say Yes" and "Rivermen" intertwine in all this honey to spice up the dish a little. The first with an immediate and enjoyable alternative rock and the second with a black color that contrasts with the pastel of rigor until then in a slow and finally explosive climb that could be the crossing between Oceansize and Thumpermonkey. The second part of "If/When" focuses on "Creature", the longest track ever composed by the band with nearly half an hour on the clock, and takes up the album's codes in the form of three separate paintings of immersive and atmospheric atmospheres.

It was necessary for the deep nature of The Tea Club to reappear in a last vital breath after being contained for half an hour. In the opening sequence it is folk and acoustic passages that always dominate this high degree of melody, gravity-laden vocal pitches and a very subtly distilled 70's progressive key. The heart goes wild and definitely takes the listener into a jubilant instrumental frenzy. The finale functions as a distorting mirror of the first part and exploits the main theme of the piece by stretching it into a multiple of instrumental variations.

Due to its construction, the duration of its tracks and the differences in style between a devilishly calibrated song-writing for the first part and an unbridled progressive drive for the second, this "If/When" is The Tea Club's most contrasting album. Although this disc is not totally representative of The Tea Club's past work, it can be approached as a gateway to a demanding discography that rewards a hundredfold the patience that we have agreed to put into it to discover it.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. The Way You Call (2:39)
02. Say Yes (4:12)
03. If I Mean When (4:21)
04. Rivermen (6:35
05. Came At A Loss (4:19)
06. Sinking Ship (3:17)
07. Creature (27:45)

LINEUP:
Dan McGowan: Chant / Guitares / Claviers
Dan Monda: Batterie
Jamie Wolff: Basse / Violon / Violoncelle
Joe Dorsey: Claviers
Patrick McGowan: Chant / Guitares / Claviers
   
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