The Tea Party, Seven Circles

Many fans over the years have complained that The Tea Party are past their prime. These complaints started after their 1999 hit single "Heaven Coming Down", which stripped away of all the exotic instrumentation that made their sound so different. In 2001, The Tea Party released The Interzone Mantras, a record that continued their stripped down sound, but produced mixed results. For the band's ninth studio release, Seven Circles, The Tea Party enlist producers Bob Rock (Metallica) and Gavin Brown (Billy Talent) to streamline their songs into quick, hit singles. Unfortunately, they fail miserably here. The main problem is that the record is way over produced. More than half of the record is either tiresome hard rock ("Overload", "Wishing You Would Stay") or syrupy ballads ("Oceans", "The Watcher"). The best track on the album is "Empty Glass", an ode to David Bowie, where the band lets go of all their ambitions and just rock out. Other highlights include first single "Writing's on the Wall" whose sound is best described as The Tea Party-meet-Rage Against the Machine, and the title track, which fades into a blues jam session. The Tea Party were a great band back in the 90s, when they opened many doors for new fans of music, but they need to keep opening new ones, which lead away from the mainstream, or else some fans may be right, they could be way past their prime. (EMI)

Rating: 2.5 Out Of 5 Stars

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