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Tea Club, The: General Winter's Secret Museum

What do you get when you mix the vocal harmonies of The Beatles or Echolyn, the dissonant abstraction of the mighty Crimson and all around gorgeous melodies? The answer is The Tea Club, a relatively new band hailing from Deptford, New Jersey. Although they have released four EPs, their latest album, General Winter's Secret Museum is their first full length release. The band consists of Patrick McGowan (vocals, guitar, bass), Dan McGowan (vocals, guitar) and Kyle Minnick (drums). The band delivers a rich full sound which is particularly impressive since this is only a three piece. The album is full of chugging rhythms, angular attacks that seemingly come out of nowhere, beautiful acoustic moments, and lovely layered vocals which only add to this band's charm. It is clear from the outset, harmony and melody are as important as complex rhythms and patterns, making for an absorbing and first rate listening experience. Often the intense pace is slowed by quieter acoustic moments which makes these songs all the more effective. Also of note is the drumming of Kyle Minnick. Besides setting the sometimes furious pace, he is able to add subtle fills and rolls, at times reminding me of Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree.

The album begins with "Werewolves", with its slow beginning building up to a wall of sound of crunching guitars and marching drums somewhat reminiscent of The Clash. Excellent harmony vocals in the slower parts invokes memories of The Beatle's Abbey Road. At one moment the band is cooking at a break neck pace whereas the next moment dreamy soundscapes enter the fold always keeping the listener motivated to hear more. The furious guitar and drum attack of "Cool Smack" sets a blistering tempo, yet still manages to be as melodic as hell. Again the pace slows allowing gentle acoustic strumming to lead the softer section which includes more lovely harmonies from the McGowan brothers before a cacophony of Crimsonesque sounds takes hold only to be followed by gentle acoustic guitar once more. The punk rock attitude of "Big Al" includes nice bass and drum work and some experimental guitar sounds before the music veers in a Floydian direction. This is complicated stuff and very progressive in the truest sense of the word. The mellow "Castle Builder" paints a somber picture with music as well as words:

Picture this,
A miracle that lets you sing like a god
Cry like the devil and sound like an angel
The harvest moon is shining down upon
A field of clouds that will soon be gone

The imagery created by many of these songs suggests the words are as important as the music which is so refreshing in these days of mindless drivel we are so often bombarded with. Also worthy of mention is the artwork. The cover conveys a feeling of serenity, in contrast to the eclectic images inside, inviting comparisons to the music found within.

So there it is folks. Although I only described four songs, the rest are just as good, but I will leave the rest for you. If you appreciate melodic well written songs with a complex edge do yourself a favour and check out The Tea Club. This band deserves your attention.


Track Listing:
1. Werewolves
2. Cool Smack
3. Big Al
4. Castle Builder
5. Purple Chukz
6. The Clincher
7. Will O' the Wisp
8. The Moon
9. IceClock

Added: April 26th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2267
Language: english

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