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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Tea Set

Back in Time for Tea

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual album. It has a lot of varied elements and leanings that come together to create something cohesive and unique. It draws for psychedelia, garage band sounds, punk and space rock. It even includes moments that lean toward progressive rock, electronica and more. Yet, it never feels too diverse to seem cohesive. I have to admit that my favorite moments are when they lean into Hawkwind like territory, but everything here works pretty well.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
On Them
The bass rumbles in the background as this begins. They launch out into a cool psychedelic rock jam that has definite punky, garage angles brought by the vocals and some of the energy. The synthesizer brings some proggy angles to the fray, as well.
Sing Song
That punky edge is all over this as it starts. The verses have almost an acoustic punk sound with a wall of voices. Other parts are elevated with synthesizer that bring more that psychedelic sound.
Grey Starling
Trippy, echoey, space rock sounds are at the heart of the first portion of this. The vocals are in the form of a distant radio "mayday" call. This feels a lot like something Hawkwind would do. The cut drives out after the minute-and-a-half mark to a more hard rocking jam that again doesn't seem far removed from Hawkwind, but the punkier side of that band. The next vocals are mostly spoken and also space rock oriented. This is one of my favorites of the set. The sounds of winds and more radio chatter take over to end the piece.
B52G
Weird out of tune stuff along with studio banter bring this into being. From there, they launch into a full punk rock jam. This is fun and tastefully raw.
Parry Thomas
The rhythm section brings this into being. The cut rises up from there as another space rock styled number. This feels a lot like Nik Turner era Hawkwind to me. There are hints of punk and reggae in this. There is an almost Kraftwerk meets Hawkwind edge to this on the closing movement. It is another highlight. In fact, this might be my favorite song on the disc.
Tri X Pan
While this is punkier, I can still make out hints of that Hawkwind sound here. Then again, Hawkwind and punk are not mutually exclusive.
Keep on Running (Big Noise from the Jungle)
Punk rock is the driving force here. However, there are definitely bits of space rock, electronica and more in the mix. This is an entertaining cut that works really well.
Flaccid Pot
Echoey percussion is on hand as this starts. Melodic instrumentation rises to join after a while. It drops to just keyboards after the two-minute mark. Then the number reborn after that in another punk meets space rock jam. The first vocals of the song come in from there. This is another fun tune.
South Pacific
Driving punk rock with plenty of space elements is at the heart of this screaming. The bass line is cool, and there is a real theatric edge to this that works so well.
The Preacher
Another that has both punk and space rock sounds, this is more classy stuff. The flying saucer keyboard parts are cool and the tune is, like some of the others, very Hawkwind like.
Walk Small
Psychedelia with a real 1960s pop rock sound is at the heart of this. It really feels like something that would have been at home in 1968. This is fun.
Pharaohs

This is one of the most dramatic songs of the whole album. It has a driving kind of mysterious sound that encompasses both space rock and punky alternative quite well. There are some psychedelic edges in some of the music that comes in over the top.  It's a great choice for closer.

 
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