The Tea Party’s The Edges of Twilight album turns 20 this year (hard to believe!) and the band has re-released the album Sept 4th as a double cd set. Along with the original track listing is a host of demo’s of many the original songs.
Despite The Edges of Twilight only being The Tea Party’s second release early on in their career, the songs are solid. Solidly written and masterful musicianship that sets the band apart from others then, and now! Even the demo’s of the songs are works of art. For example, title track, Fire in the Head (demo) shines a light on singer Jeff Martin’s impeccable vocal skills with him singing acapella for the first few bars before the music cuts in. The album version has subtle differences and one cant choose which is better – both are equally moving.
The Bazaar (demo) begins with killer guitar notes that didnt make the final radio /album cut, but should be heard by any Tea Party fan. The Bazaar demo doesn’t include lyrics, just instrumental, but the thread the instrumentals weave is mesmerizing. This is the first Tea Party song I was ever introduced to. Correspondence (first cd) is a bluesy moody rainy Sunday kind of feel with piano and cymbals.. very cool. This leads off to The Badger, which begins with a very Celtic bag pipe-y feel (seriously.. no bagpipes, its an Indian Pungi I think), and leads into wonderful guitar finger picking. No lyrics but beautiful to listen to.
By comparison, Silence, is very loud! Very Indian in sound and feel, belly dancers and Indian drums are envisioned as one listens. Sister Awake starts out with guitar chords and sitar? Combining rock elements and other world instruments is a theme that runs throughout the entire 2 cd set but this song in particular brings to mind snake charmers and open air markets half a world away.
Turn the Lamp Down Low is very rootsy, Southern swing sort of vibe. With vocals that are more pronounced than on other tracks, and a slide guitar, this is one of my favourites off the album. Shadows on the Mountainside continues the rootsy feel of the previous track. Somewhat stripped down in production, it highlights the vocals and the band’s top notch playing.
Drawing Down the Moon brings the fuzzed amp rock back to the forefront with heavy drums (love) and heavy heavy guitar work (love). A bit ballad sounding in lyrics, that illusion is shattered each time the guitar cuts into the spaces left between the vocals. Can Jazz have rock guitars? In this instance yes! Inanna brings us back to the sitar (feels a bit strange after such a heavy previous track), and the album is rounded out with Coming Home and Walk With Me (which includes The Edges of Twilight).
Disc 2 is a whopping 15 track smorgasbord of sound and texture, including demos of nearly all the songs on disc one, and a few alternate versions, live BBC versions, acoustic, tour rehearsals and previous unreleased versions. (see track listing below). This anniversary album is definitely for the consummate Tea Party fan, but also for the casual fan! Its just sheer listening pleasure, with songs ranging from near ballads to fist pumping dancing tunes. There is something for everyone on this collectors set. Check it out at The Tea Party website, and check out their tour dates across Canada where they’ll be performing the album in its entirety!
1. Fire In The Head (Demo)
2. The Bazaar (Demo)
3. Walk With Me (Demo)
4. Sister Awake (Demo)
5. Drawing Down The Moon (Demo)
6. Turn The Lamp Down Low (Alternate Blues Version)
7. Correspondences (From the ‘Alhambra’ Tour rehearsals)
8. Sarode Bazaar (Previously unreleased)
9. Inanna (Acoustic Version)
10. Silence (Acoustic Version)
11. Shadows On The Mountainside (Triple J Session Live)
12. The Bazaar (BBC Live version)
13. Sister Awake (Triple J Live At The Wireless)
15. Turn The Lamp Down Low (BBC Live version)