THE TEA CLUB - General Winter’s Secret Museum

The Tea Club - General Winter’s Secret Museum

9 songs
49:35 minutes
***** ***


Bands that don’t adhere to the current fashion have always had a hard time getting signed by record labels. Some give up, others try even harder, like New Jersey based The Tea Club, who must have spent a lot of money in their self-released CD General Winter’s Secret Museum which sound anything but a DIY production. The info sheet compares the three-piece to King Crimson, and although I don’t want to deny certain prog influences, they remind me rather of King’s X, or even the eternally overlooked Galactic Cowboys.

Switching between rockers and goose bumps worthy ballads, The Tea Club play intricate rock songs that go under the skin. The guitar plays lightly distorted riffs that leave no holes in the sound, while the bass guitar’s virtuoso playing adds an unusual yet welcome warmth. The intricate drumming help furthermore to set The Tea Club apart from run-of-the-mill newcomers. The vocals are somewhat hoarse yet always manage to convey a melancholic feeling that is miles ahead of emo whining. It’s a good thing that the band does their own thing, because God knows there are already enough prog revivalists around.

The nine songs that are all running between four and six minutes never show any signs of idleness, instead they are thoroughly thought through and convince without an exception. It is even impossible to pick out any highlights because the band is performing on a constantly high level. Combining the unorthodox songwriting of progressive rock with an intrinsic feeling for modern alternative music, The Tea Club proudly do their own thing, and even if I felt like calling up comparisons, it is obvious that this young is unrelentingly following their own path.

The excellent production and mix was in the hands of Tim Gilles (Thursday, Taking Back Sunday) who may have recorded with emo and punk bands in the past, but who also managed to create a contemporary sound on General Winter’s Secret Museum, an astonishing record that is accessible and thought provoking at the same time. Fans of timeless good rock music are well advised to taste this CD which not only sounds as professional as any label backed record, but even sounds more original and refreshing than those of the majority of big selling artists of today! If all self-released music sounded this good, there would be no need for record companies anymore!

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