This is The Tea Party's first major-label release. This is one of my favourite albums. Not for all, as it is perhaps somewhat experimental, but I really love the sound of this album. The music on it, as far as I'm concerned, is great. It is a blend of everything from rock, to folk, to blues. It also at parts has a bit of a middle-eastern sort of feel. I personally don't pay much attention to the lyrics. I am more of an instrument person, but for some reason, the lyrics on this album sort of stand out. They paint a somewhat vivid picture in my mind. But I really enjoy the instrumentals in this album. Jeff Martin really shows that he is a truly talented musician. Many of the tracks have 3 separate guitar tracks in them, making the music on this album quite complicated. Also there are a number of different tunings used. If you've only heard The Tea Party's newer stuff, then you wouldn't really expect this. They've gone a little more mainstream since this album.
Track 1- The River (5:44)
This song is one of my favourites. I actually discovered this great album through seeing a video for this song on TV. I bought the album and was pleasantly surprised. Jeff uses lots of Wah on his guitar, and it makes for one of the heavier songs on the album. The interlude is pretty cool, as far as I'm concerned. All in all, I think this is a good track that most people could appreciate.
Track 2- Midsummer Day (5:58)
This song starts off with a single acoustic guitar, and then soon gets doubled by a 12-string. Jeff goes for a while on his own, and then after about 2 minutes, the rest of the band joins in, and it goes on with clean electric guitar. The song gets faster during this part, and then after a bit, slows back down to Jeff playing an acoustic. This song has a sort of folk feel to me.
Track 3- A Certain Slant Of Light (5:00)
Starts off with Jeff picking a chord, and Stuart playing stuff on the bass, and Jeff sings for a while, and then once it finally gets going, it's got a bit of a middle-eastern (I almost want to say Egyptian, I don't know why) feel to it. It rocks pretty good, and Jeff really sings. I quite like this track.
Track 4- Winter Solstice (2:45)
Winter Solstice is a folk-ish guitar-only song, which further showcases Jeff Martin's talents. There are two 12-string tracks, one that is all chords, and the other is flat picking. If you really like folk-ish guitar stuff, this is definitely for you. I really love this song.
Track 5- Save Me (6:35)
Not one of my favourites. Don't get me wrong, I still like it, but not as much as the others. I find it a little bit repetitive. It is about a man going to war and getting killed, and his lover mourning his death. The lyrics are actually kind of good, but I'm not much of a lyric person myself. I struggle to classify this song, because it is kind of hard. I don't know what this would qualify as. But it is a good song nonetheless.
Track 6- Sun Going Down (6:31)
This is a great blues song. Acoustic slide guitar all the way! This song is a throwback to old blues slide guitar from the 50's. Until it really gets into it, when the drums and bass come in, it gives it a pretty heavy feel, which is only enhanced when Jeff adds a track of the same, played on an electric, over top of the acoustic. Overall I'd say it's a pretty great song.
Track 7- In This Time (4:57)
In This Time is another song that doesn't exactly stand out. It's very slow, and very folk-ish. There is what sounds like almost country-ish lap steel guitar in the background over the acoustic guitar and Jeff's voice. Not one of the best on the album, but not too bad, if you just want to relax.
Track 8- Dreams Of Reason (6:19)
I kind of like this song. It's a mix of folk and sort of slow rock. It sounds to me like there is a cello or something underneath the guitars at parts. To me, the guitars sound like they have a bit of a middle-eastern influence to them. In the middle, there is what I describe as a "Brian May Queen Solo." It just sounds to me a lot like a solo that Brian May might do with Queen; it's got that sort of feel to it. This is another good slow song.
Track 9- Raven Skies (5:17)
Raven Skies is One of my favourites. This song really gets rocking, and has a good fast feeling to it. The guitars sound heavily influenced by middle-eastern music to me. This is definitely one of the heavier songs on the album, and I don't really know what to say about it. Good song.
Track 10- Haze On The Hills (2:24)
This is another great solo acoustic song. It has quite a different sound from Winter Solstice, and is only one six-string going through the song. I just have to say this. If you like really good acoustic guitar-oriented music, then check this song out. I quite enjoy it. That's about all I can say about it.
Track 11- The Majestic Song
Haze On The Hills just flows into The Majestic Song, and after the main riff of The Majestic Song starts, it is doubled by and electric, and then another guitar part comes in playing lead. This is another one of my favourites from the album. This song also sounds to me like it has a lot of middle-eastern influence to it (starting to be a theme, isn't it?). Good lyrics, but as I've said before, I'm not much of a lyric person. As far as I'm concerned, this song rocks!