The Tea Party – The Edges of Twilight

1995 EMI/Chrysalis

Anyone who knows me knows how absolutely nuts I am about The Tea Party, one of my favorite bands ever.  On ‘The Edges of Twilight’ Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows accomplish the unthinkable.  Take the middle-eastern vibe and diversity of classic Led Zeppelin, throw in husky vocals from the darker side of Jim Morrison and that will give you a good idea of the kind of sound you can expect.

This would be a sound deserving of a pronounced rolling of the eyes if not for the stellar songwriting, musicianship and conviction of all three members of the band.  Rather than sounding derivitave, the music is an inspired and original sounding natural progression of the aforementioned influences.

From the first notes of grandiose and downright classic opener “Fire in the Head” (a live concert staple), everything about the sound is huge on this disc.  Even acoustic-laden tracks like “Shadows on the Mountainside” wrap themselves around you in a dark and seductive embrace with their hugeness of sound.

Track after track just has ‘classic’ written all over it.  “The Bazaar,” “Silence,” “Inanna,” “Coming Home” and the showstopping “Sister Awake” all provide nice peaks on an album that proudly wears its rock, classical and world music influences for all to see, paying immense tribute to them through inspired performances and songwriting.

I still maintain to this day that the best performance I’ve ever seen by any rock band (and unfortunately the only time I ever got to see The Tea Party live) was when The Tea Party opened for Ian Moore at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on November 29, 1995.  I still have the ticket stub, and I have to crack a smile every time I look at it.  And I still hope for an eventual reunion.

Rating:  5 out of 5


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