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Midnight on the Reservoir – Tea Leaf Green

self-released

Sometimes cover art is thrown together as a means of finishing up the

packaging. Other times it perfectly represents what's going on over the

timespan of a particular disc. For Tea Leaf Green's "Midnight on the

Reservoir" there's a half-man/half-amphibious figure smoking from a long

wooden pipe. It has that "Alice in Wonderland" dreamscape to it, while it also

brings to mind the dangerously potent herb in "Cheech and Chong's Nice

Dreams".

Inside, there's an ink drawing of a man passed out on moonshine as well as

an artistic impression of the quartet as four heads inhabiting one body as

several arms play several instruments.

So, how appropriate is all this? Listening to "Midnight on the Reservoir,"

I'd say the window dressing gives a fairly accurate impression of what to

expect. Still, there is more to TLG than THC-ready groove music that

interweaves keyboards, bass, guitar and drums in a seamless fashion. Oh yeah.

There are the occasional vocals, but the main line in Sex in the 70’s ("Mama

tell me about the sex you had in the 70's") just seems better left not to

think about for its disturbing nature. Then again, as evidenced by other

tracks, words to TLG vocalist Trevor Garrod are like stream-of-consciousness

graffiti sprayed upon the wall of sound the band creates.

Actually, what bothers me more about "Sex in the 70's" is how its final

minutes contain the same subtle building progression found in an anonymous Phish tune.

My point is the method still sounds good but TLG displays enough

personality to do without it.

At the midway point, TLG turns over a new leaf (sorry for that) and

presents a few vocal-based numbers. I Believe and Papa’s in the Bedroom

are the strongest of the lot not only for their laid-back fluid grooves and

pop craftsmanship but the words contain more of a sense of humanity than the

off-kilter turns of phrase or syllabic jumbles that appear elsewhere. The

immediate switch from instrumental heavy tracks to vocal ones is a bit

unsettling, but I imagine that at this early stage of the band's recording

career, the members' are eager to show off that they've got.

Sleepwalker finishes the album with a sonic representation of the

sleeping character on the cd booklet. It's a nice fade out from the

instrumental explorations and straightforward numbers that proceeded it.

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