This one came in as a request from one of my bat friends, Yatri. Now, let me start off by explaining the nature that is Yatz. He is wise - not just smart (though he's very intelligent). He's got a way of looking at things and discussing them with you that makes you angry and excited all at once. We don't argue - we discuss, and there's usually some really cool passion for whatever we're talking about. He asks good questions and doesn't judge if you don't know every detail.
That said, when Yatz and I start talking about music, my major passion in life, our discussions are incredible. When he tells me to give something new a chance, I do. Hence this post!
So, this band, The Tea Party, originates with Jeff Martin form Windsor, Ontario. He was influenced by the proto-punch and Motown sounds from across the Detroit River, as well as his blues-loving father. This band includes Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows, and they are described as blending rock, "Middle Eastern, Celtic, and Mediterranean music."
Far out! Let's do this!
"Fire In The Head" is first up, and I'm a little taken aback right at the start. The guitar picking is intriguing from the opening notes, with a mysterious deep voice taking control as it moves in. There's a sweet creepy factor happening that's bone chilling. The different elements noted above are, in fact, all in the song, but you just sort of realize them piece by piece throughout. I can't put my finger on the total meld quite yet.
All right, there we go. "The Bazaar" has a much different sound than your in-American tracks. Here are the Middle Eastern influences, front and center on an electric guitar. It's sort of a wild combo of effects and sounds going on that I would have never expected to be done.
"Correspondences" is very long and very slow and very tough to stay awake to after such a long day as mine. It's a classing long, drawn-out rock song that you can imagine the musicians are just completely loosing themselves in, but I don't know that there's a regard here to what fans want. It's very hard for us, mentally, to sit through a song more than three minutes long, so just the idea of seven+ is very tough. Not impossible to enjoy, just not enticing enough to be willing at every moment.
Next up is "The Badger." Insert some witty remark about badgers here. The Celtic sound is afoot - those are distant pipe sounds if I'm not mistaken, at the beginning. The guitar picking that comes in to join them about a minute in it surprisingly beautiful, and the classical sound that it launches in to is completed unexpected. Where did THIS come from? This is absolutely gorgeous, and totally brings on a new respect for the band able to produce it. Here's an old live video of the song:
"Silence" is certainly anything but. We're back to a slightly twisted sounding vocal lead, and this time a very Indian-sounding rhythm throughout. The instrumentation in this can only be described in words as bazaar, but I don't mean that in the sense of weird. I literally mean that this should be the background music in a scene of a movie with a bazaar.
No lie, thought I was about to hear "Screaming Infidelities" at the start of "Sister Awake." Instead, we get a gentle sitar overcoming the strumming guitar with a low voice. It's the sound of a quiet opening, with a pick up about a minute and a half in. The dance gets crazy and hypnotic. The visions you could have while listening to this are so pretty; so cathartic. The, around 2:20, the drums kick in and the rock sound melds itself in. I'm totally confused by this sound and I am adoring every moment.
"Turn the Lamp Down Low" is a deep, more solemn song for the night. It definitely picks up around 2:45 with intensity. There's something so dark and hot and awesome about this - I love it. More please. Some kind of psychedelic rock is happening without being overly obvious about it. If I wasn't at work, I'd totally get my hippie dance on.
And we're back to something totally soft and sweet and sentimental sounding for "Shadows On The Mountainside." It's like if "Lord of the Rings" actually took on a folk sound. This is so incredibly quiet, I'm almost shocked. Sure, there's the deepness to it, creating an ominous feeling throughout, but it remains just on the edge of fascinating. Something weird and wonderful seems to be happening in this music.
"Drawing Down The Moon" brings on just a twinge more creepiness, as it really down feel like a sickening spiral downwards into darkness. I'd venture to say this is the darkest song on the album, but we till have three more tracks to prove otherwise. It's not bad, but it's nothing I'd be interested in getting farther in to. It's just a bit much to handle overall. Plus I'm working nights and it's not easy hearing tiring low much like this.
I'll be honest, I tuned out "Inanna" and I don't care. The bit my conscious seemed to catch played off as annoying and I just wasn't having it.
"Coming Home" seems to 'bring it home' with some rougher rock licks. Late nights at work suck for reviews as much as they rock (hey, when else am I going to have time? - A girl needs her sleep) because of exhaustion and distractions, this is no exception. Actually, I think I like the lyrics/story in this one a lot, or at least the bits I'm catching.
Okay, fully concentrating for this final song that's only… 14 minutes long!! Ah, there's a note - the full thing is: "Walk With Me (Contains Hidden Track "The Edges Of Twilight")." Makes more sense now. So technically, this second-to-last song is a slow build of electronic noise until the dark vocal sound and hard hitting drop. It doesn't really slow down from there for the remaining 6 minutes or so of the 7 minute long first song. The hidden track picks up somewhere around the 8/8:30 mark (I was busy trying to beat my family in Solitaire Blitz). The first bit is all spoke word about the Goddess drawing near, set to slow ominous metal guitar backing, and then it all goes silent again at about 10 minutes. At 12 minutes I'm uncomfortably still sitting in silence, alone in my office. 14 minutes! There's something! A quick little door slam and… that's it. Done.
Added to My Playlist:
- "The Badger"
- "Sister Awake"
- "Turn the Lamp Down Low"
Nice one Yatz, very nice one.
I can't believe this band is only five albums into their career. I feel like I've known Flogging Molly my entire life - they've just always been a band that's there. Never a prominent figure in my life, but always great the moments they appeared.
I listened through this last night actually, typing my thoughts without videos of intros. The music is incredible, and there are very few songs that fall into 'typical' celtic punk. Almost everything on here is amazing both musically and lyrically.
Check it out on Spotify - lets rock.
"Speed of Darkness" is the first track, and obviously the title track. It starts up with this epic tone that I wouldn't have expected, then launches into the main track, full of all the wonderful Irishness you need for this band, with this slight dark twist that makes it all the better. God, everything is so good with this band when it's dead on - I seem to have forgotten that over the years. They speak to the oddballs while maintaining this rock/folk sound unlike anything you could imagine. I'm listening through headphones right now, and it's just so damn good.
Oh memories of Warped Tour of yester-year. God my punk days were oddly fun. Aside from being tossed around by my hair. "Revolution"has a nice little political comment going on for America, which is a little different now than then. But the music itself is so upbeat and fun, it's hard to imagine there's any complaining on our officials going on. Oddly enough, a call to arms actually still makes for a great sounding song. The horns in here give such cool support to an otherwise still rockin' song. I remember the point of these concerts being the pit dancing, and here we go, it continues.
That's not an official video, but it was a finalist in an amateur competition that I stumbled upon, so I thought I'd share. Not bad work at all.
"The Heart of the Sea" almost seems slowed down, though the beat is still on the upswing. "Don't fornicate with the one you hate" kind of is a laughable line, but truly not awful advice. Whatever the case may be - story or life lessons or a combo - this song moves in a good way, complimenting the vocal intensity throughout. The only off thing is the pipes that seem too soft to support the message, but the song carries nonetheless.
If you were going to label the song of Flogging Molly as more Rock or more Irish, I'd put "Don't Shut 'Em Down" in the Rock column. There's that drum beat hitting throughout the chorus alone that keeps the head banging going. Again, some modern life commentary, but it makes for a song you can get behind subject-wise. You feel empowered to do something, or at least get up and party the hell out of that pit. Ah. I miss concerts so bad.
So there was the official video for the song, form the band. The only one I could tell had come from this album - the rest are live. Kind of a cool look into their thoughts throughout this - like I said, some commentary for sure happening. And, side note, the lead singer looks kind of like the Road Dogg.
"The Power's Out" is probably more on the Irish side of things, but I'll stop classifying them as one way or another... maybe. It's such a cool treatment though. The guitar is the main support, in place of where you could probably hear bagpipes instead. As it moves on, more of the band comes on board in support, both instrumentally and a little vocally. Those main beats that hit make for perfect marching and protesting.
And now for the old one in the midst of the bar, with a man playing to a crowd who needs the music almost as much as he does. "So Sail On" is this beautifully light song in tribute to his life in this wonderfully classic Irish method. It's gentle enough to rock you in a way only such a song could, but provoking enough to relate to throughout the course of its melodies. This one's an unexpected gem from a band that is best known for something with far more BPM and harder-hitting sounds.
While that song could have made for a great closer, we do pick up the pace once again for "Saints & Sinners." This is just a classic FM sound, rocking for the dancers in the crowd, commenting on our humanity. Personally, nothing entirely special is happening here, but it does still make for a fitting part of the band's album. However, it bears mentioning that there's some banjo happening, and that's just admirable, always.
"This Present State of Grace" is upbeat, but keeps things in that lighter tone, despite the obvious commentary on the world. There's lots in there - lines on the military, robbers, and even history that we've come from. It's an incredibly well-written song as a whole, as you can get lost in concentration on the lyrics as they move and tell us what's on the man's mind. There's something incredibly unique about this song in the best way possible, as though we can all relate to at least a line lyrically, but to the whole musically.
Whoa, hell piano for "The Cradle of Humankind." Y'all know I'm about halfway to hooked, if not more, just based on that. And probably now the rest of the way there between lyrics and string section now coming in. And... an accordion? I mean, this is just beautiful on the instrumental side. Yes, you're getting more on an opinion of the world we're surrounded by, as well as an introspective on life to come - but what more do you want from a song? I think this one does a helluva job at getting us near to writing perfection. From the light lead in half, to the heavy pick up of intensity to drive it all home, there's really something special here.
"Oliver Boy (All of Our Boys)." Eh? See what they did there? Anywhos. The recording technique on here is really clever - sort of like an old cylinder for the opening, then flashing into the more modern devices. It's like a tribute to old Irish sound and then edging into something we want today. It's a toe-tapper beyond that, but again, typical. If that's what you want, yes, it's another good FM song. But I'm spoiled by beauty in so many other songs now and can't help but want more.
I think maybe my love of the soundtrack for Once has provided a soft spot in my heart for the classic Irish sound amongst some of these track. The duet in "A Prayer for Me in Silence" definitely does give some semblance of those wonderful songs. Here, it's not necessarily a love song, but the voices provide a compliment that's just lovely. The whole song moves so well and everyone is just perfect together. This is a quick number that goes by fast, but should not be missed.
Finally, we get "Rise Up," so elegantly (yeah, I'm surprised I used that particular word for this album, but bear with me) led into - then hits hard with exactly what you were expecting. "Rise up, stand and be counted." It's a great song for its purposes, and seems to ban everyone together for the final stand amongst the music throughout.
Added To My Playlist:
All right, well, I'm incredibly happy with this one. Seriously, a fine job done by all, with almost every song being a winner. This was awesome. Oh, and btw, they're and Bonnaroo this year - hell yeah.
- "Speed of Darkness"
- "Don't Shut 'Em Down"
- "So Sail On"
- "The Present State of Grace"
- "The Cradle of Humankind"
- "A Prayer for Me In Silence"
- "Rise Up"