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Published: 2013/05/11
by Brian Robbins

Tea Leaf Green
In The Wake

Greenhouse Records

Tea Leaf Green’s new In The Wake is one stone-groovy hot mess. The TLG boys order up a little bit of everything behind the bar for this one, shake it well, and pour out a beautiful, hybrid blend that sounds just like them. Whatever the individual and collective losses were that many of the songs refer to matters not: this is the wake; tape was rolling; wrap yourself up in it and enjoy.

Co-producer Jeremy Black is a perfect fit in the studio for Tea Leaf Green: In The Wake feels expansive, yet focused; experimental, yet familiar; personal and raw, yet fun. While the players remain the same (keyboardist Trevor Garrod; guitarist Josh Clark; bassist Reed Mathis; and the drums/percussion duo of Scott Rager and Cochrane McMillan) their roles meld on In The Wake, resulting in 13 cuts of goodness with no spotlights – just a nice, low glow.

“Someday” begins with sweet piano and bass before the full band folds in to create a big and full wall of sound. “Penny Saved” has all the hot buttered soul of a classic Isaac Hayes number, aided by just-right horn and string cameos. Those same horns help transform the opening garage rock riff of “One Condition’s Enough” into a lovely come-clean purge (listen to how the drums work off the vocal). The mile-and-a-half-deep layers of vocals on “Don’t Go” somehow make it all the more intimate, while “Mr. E And The Cosmic Receptacle” is the kind of music played on the back porch of a tarred-paper shack on Venus.

By now you’re getting the gist of In The Wake, I’m betting: a brimming bowl full of all-you-can-eat yin-yang shape-shifting vibes. Feed your head with “All Our Love”: lush violin and cello with a quasi-jungle rhythm drums ‘n’ bass foundation underneath. Or “Space Hero Pt. 2” – vintage Beastie Boys-style wump-a-thump that sounds reckless and goofy on the first listen. Spin it again, though: that’s a two-fisted soul-wringing you’re hearing, ape man noises and all.

Whatever fires Tea Leaf Green have walked through together forged them into a powerful team of musicians on In The Wake.

Best one yet for the boys? Yep.

*****

Brian Robbins lives in a tarred-paper shack over at www.brian-robbins.com

Comments

There are 3 comments associated with this post

Reyn May 15, 2013, 12:10:51

After a couple of listens on Spotify, I dig the album, but “best one yet”? Meh. Taught and Raise were both immediate gems. These tunes should get a good live treatment, but they are a little too produced on the album to generate any feeling that they will be a part of the rotation any time soon.

Ben May 15, 2013, 17:25:34

This is indeed a hot mess. There are 3 or 4 good tunes and the rest are throw-away sound jumbles.

Tim September 30, 2013, 18:07:57

Worst album yet. Please take the effects off Trevor’s voice.

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