TEA PARTY - Seven Circles

Tea Party - Seven Circles

11 songs
45:04 minutes
***** **


With one year delay, Europe sees the release of Canadian platinum sellers Tea Party's seventh album, unoriginally named Seven Circles. A big major label deal in Canada shows that the band is still gigantic in their native country, while in Europe they are release by a good-sized but still independent label. The Tea Party had their heyday in Europe with their early albums in the early Nineties, when grunge painted a new face over rock, and the Canadian power-trio (still in its original form up until today) excited an eager European audience with their esoteric Seventies-tinged rock.

Many years later, they must suffer the fact that it didn't work so well in Europe after all, although an album like Seven Circles makes you wonder why. Not that I am infatuated with it, but in the light of bands like Coldplay, Staind, Nickelback, etc, you would think that a compact album like this would attract a huge fanbase. But then Tea Party don't sound like the aforementioned bands, but still somehow adhere to the sound of the Seventies, and even if Jeff Martin doesn't sound like Jim Morrison that much anymore, the parallels to mid-Seventies Led Zeppelin are still more than obvious.

The album starts with the short groovy hardrocker Writing's On The Wall, followed by the very melodic Stargazer, with a slick production making it perfect radio material. One Step Closer Away is again a hardrocker, and Oceans something of a cheesy rock ballad, not unlike some of Whitesnake's Eighties material. These first four songs already show that Tea Party want to reach out to the hardrock and to the FM radio audience. Does it work? More or less yes. I am not too fond of commercial music, but when a band keeps its identity like Tea Party, I can very well live with it. The production is good and glossy, never over-the-top, and eventually always in the best sense of the song. Of course I would have wished a bit more experimentalism.

The remaining material follows the same procedure: mellow material followed by hardrockers, and Luxuria nearly even ended up on the soundtrack of the Prince Of Persia computer game. So much for orientalism! Fans of commercial rock music will be delighted to discover that there is radio compatible music beyond the couple of bands you are treated with on the regular airwaves.

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