Band: The Tea Club
Band Website: www.theteaclub.net
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2010
When I was first contacted by the band The Tea Club I got a sense that these guys were serious about making their way in the music world. Interestingly at that time the idea of carving out a niche for themselves in the prog world seemed a bit new although the music on their first disc certainly fit the bill. So now we have their second disc and I gotta tell you I’m just blown away with what these guys have created. The Tea Club have grown to a quartet Pat McGowan (vocals, guitar), Dan McGowan (vocals, guitar) and Kyle Minnick (drums) and the newest member Becky Osenenko (bass). Then to top it off they’ve enlisted Tom Brislin to provide the keyboards. If I had to describe the music on Rabbit, I could do it in two words – Absolutely Stunning!
The nine compositions that make upRabbit seem light years from the music created on the band’s first CD. All the early elements are there, but this time around the music is more crafted, more complex even dare I say it, more interesting. And I really liked their first release; it’s just that this one is so much better in that it offers so much more to the ear. They’ve taken all their compositional approaches and defined them further by adding keyboards or even more proggy structures in places. If you have their first CD, General Winter’s Secret Museum the first thing you’ll notice here is that they’ve pretty much lost the obvious Mars Volta and Rush influences and become The Tea Club. The only remaining sonic reference point for me is Echolyn, who interestingly get a thank-you in the liner notes, but that was already a part of the band’s sound and a side they’ve chosen to develop. Most of these songs are over the six-minute mark and The Tea Club have grown musically to where they’re really not afraid to mess with arrangements offering many musical changeups giving each of these songs a kind of story-telling aspect that is so proggy. They’re musical journeys where the lyrics and the music work together in superb fashion. There are moments where the music is aggressive and almost cacophonous as at the six-minute mark of “The Night I Killed Steve Shelley” [9:07] and then just as many where it’s soft and delicate almost plaintive as in “Royal Oil Can” [5:15]. While I love every track on this disc I have to say I’m most drawn to “Out of the Oceans” [7:17] with its quirky off-kilter riff and rhythm counterpoint. When that track starts I can’t stop from tapping my foot. That song is magic!
I can’t remember a time where I experienced such listening pleasure going from the first CD to the second. This is such a major leap in every aspect it’s hard to not be impressed at what a band can do when they set their mind to it. The fact The Tea Club still aren’t signed to major label is criminal. Rabbit is such a superb disc and will appeal to progressive rock fans who enjoy a heavy symphonic sound. It gets my highest recommendation.