Review Summary: The tea party gives us a catchy rock record which happened to be the last album of a great and undermined band
The tea party is a band that had infinite potentials for being great.They had the talented frontman with the great voice and the Morisson-like style,a gifted bass player who could easily handle the keyboards in the time of need,and a truly amazing drummer who could fing a way to demolish the drum kit without ruining the eastern based moods of the songs.Having all these,one could expect The tea party to have become a huge band through their career,which kinda actually happened,but not many were truly aware of it.Their swan song,seven circles,may not be the bands best work,but it is for sure a good album for every rock fan.Even if it fails to unveil the grandiosity of the band,or to be a representative work, it can easily be a perfect album for a road trip,with plenty of catchy melodies to stuck in your head.
To begin with the very first thing that a fan of the band will listen,is the turn to a more accessible sound and style of songwriting.this is not bad if one knows how to do it,and as you will see the tea party really know how to build a good song with the basic elements of modern rock music.The riffs are catchy, the melodies usually beautiful,and accompanied by the warm voice of jeff martin,who is always an outstanding and passionate singer.The sing along parts are very enjoyable,and where the songs go cheesy,he really knows how to bring back the right riff.Bob Rock has done excellent work with the production,and the orchestra parts work really good when needed.The magic formula of the riff-driven simple structured songs is working well,but after a few listens,the album may reveal its flaws.
The tea party
may have been trapped under the new direction they followed,and sometimes seem to lose the basic element that made their music so adventurous:the eastern influences and the instrumental experimentations.If the edges of twilight had the right amount of killer riffs,great vocal lines and Indian melodies,seven circles are devoid of that immense ‘’world music’’ felling that seemed to be so essential to their music.This kind of music direction was obvious from the interzone mantras era,but tea party have pushed it so far that they may have sacrificed their sounds unique feeling.This is not the only thing,but also you might find yourself wondering if jeff martin forgot how to play solos!!Seriousy,I can hear one at the last song and it happens to be quite good!!!Another bad point of the album is the lyrics that have lost their moody feeling of the past albums.Jeff wanted to include more love based lyrics,which are not bad written,but they are not good either.They seem to be preety clichéd,and repetitive.
Despite the flaws,the album in its entirety still rocks and can be seen as a damn good groovy effort of a band that has been unfairly ignored by the mainstream .A positive thing is that every song on seven circles could easily be a live anthem,due to its simple and straightforward nature.”the writings on the wall” and” coming back again” contain good old tea party riffs that will get stuck in your head right away.”One step closer” has a haunting beginning until the distorted guitars sneak in and bring a really cathchy chorus which you can easily dance to!!!”Stargazer”,”oceans”,and” the watcher” are ballads that are quite good but may easily get boring.”Luxuria” has the eastern reminiscent feeling,but it isn’t as well built as to take the album higher. Still a good song though.”Overload” and “wishing you would stay” are not anything special at all.”Seven circles”,the last track is in my opinion the best,bringing all the elements together for the best closing possible.
All in all,seven circles seems to be a really good album in its entirety.It may contain some clichés,and some weak tracks,but it is undoubtedly a good rock record that anyone can enjoy.However,if you really want to see what the tea party is really capable of, look for their masterpiece,the edges of twilight.