There is a heavy sixties sound to the opening of Mad Tea Party’s album. This song is “62 Years”, and while it resides in a different style than what is popular today, there is a humbleness to this composition that will allow it to be appreciated by a larger audience. In a sense, Ami’s vocals sound like Suzanne Vega and Jill Sobule; this tie to the present will also make this disc go down much easier than it would normally go.
The slower style of “Space Repair” shows a different side to Mad Tea Party. There is an otherworldly feel to the band’s sound that is aided by the composition that hides out behind the lead vocals. This instrumentation seems to draw from earlier pop styles as well as classical music styles, making “Space Repair” into something that is simultaneously familiar and odd. The expansion done by Mad Tea Party on the traditional circus music during “Big Top, Soda Pop” allows the band to offer their experiences to a larger segment of their listening audience. The rhyme scheme may be simple, but the vocals are compelling and the chorus will drive itself deep into listeners’ heads. If individuals are not a big fan of the older style of vocal delivery, it may just be a good idea to go and switch out CDs. The one thing that Mad Tea Party is throughout the disc is consistent.
The band does an album in “Big Top Soda Pop” that could be done in 1960 as much as it could be done in 2006. Even the inclusion of Russian and Country influences during “Whistle Pig” does not do anything but more firmly entrench the band into older styles of popular music. “Whistle Pig” will remind listeners of the music put forth during the soundtrack for both “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “A Mighty Wind”. The band has some bravery putting out a disc with such a classic sound in this day and age. However, individuals should not be worries since Mad Tea Party always works at an impressive clip. There is little that individuals can say negatively about the disc. Hopefully, Mad Tea Party will be able to continually come up with interesting albums as the years pass, and will not harden into merely being a mouthpiece for this era in music. Give this album a spin if you like any classic pop music.
Top Tracks: Muddy Water Butterfly, 62 Years
Mad Tea Party – Big Top Soda Pop / 2006 Self / 13 Tracks / http://www.themadteaparty.com / Reviewed 08 August 2006