TEA – Everybody’s Happy Sometimes (and more) (Best Kept Secret)

Tea are a mid-Nineties act from the Isle Of Man who had a couple of releases and a compilation appearance sneak out about a decade ago, and who have since disbanded. This tape collects together everything that they ever recorded, including their never before released debut album and all those early releases, and the twenty two tracks on here cover a wide variety of styles. The band consisted of just Pete Buttery and Phil Reynolds, with help from a number of friends, but unfortunately no drummer, so the programmed drums do date the music straight away. Buttery’s vocals are smooth and velvety and suit the gentle tone of the music, and the band hardly break into a sweat on any of the tracks (‘Token Happy Song’ being the self-evident exception), although that is no criticism as the end result is extremely well produced. ‘It’s A Good Day’ is a perfect example of the Talk Talk feel that the band can generate with a few well used synths, while ‘Anywhere But Here’ uses a ‘John Cale orchestra’ (whatever that is) and the result is stunning – one of the best tracks on here. ‘A53 (Northbound)’ is spoken vocals over jaunty instrumental, and brings to mind I, Ludicrous, and although ‘Slates’ is a synth instrumental is it really quite good, but ‘At The Bottom Of Broadway is a real oddity – a story related by a mate of the band, with sparse piano and synth backing. On the whole the music is very much of its time, and could have broken the band if it was released when it was recorded, but for now it is more to see what could have been had they had a break.

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