The Tea Party Collection - Illuminations
Sound: B Extras: C Main Videos: C-
Who, or what, is Tea Party? Never heard of them? Well, it turns out they are a long-running
Canadian Rock band (of sorts) from the 1990s that never broke into the U.S.
market. This is even with the 14 music
videos of there’s featured in this DVD collection. The band comes across as a strange hybrid of The Doors, Pearl
Jam, Gin Blossoms, and even Alice In Chains, yet nothing they have here is as
The three-man band is composed of Jeff Burrows
(drums/percussion,) Stuart Chatwood (bass guitar/keyboards,) and Jeff Martin
(guitar/lead vocal,) with Martin sounding more like Jim Morrison than Eddie
Vedder. They are on all five
soundtracks on this DVD, including an audio commentary that does not clarify
anything about their music. The music
is available in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS (which plays
best), is also offered as an “audio-only” option. The DTS is the best sound by default, but the music is only so
exciting, yet the sound quality is the DVD’s best feature.
Despite early directors like Floria Sigismondi
(Marilyn Manson, David Bowie) and Dean Karr, none of the images on any of these
videos stand out either. The picture quality
varies, with the usual progression of better picture quality as the videos go
on holding here. That is the norm for
video collections on DVD, though this is a band that went against naturalism in
most of their videos, so even that is thrown off a bit. The videos offer various aspect ratios.
Then there are the tracks. They seem to be trying for something
spiritual, but as compared to the much more interesting Collective Soul (see
that band’s fine Music in High Places program on DVD,) they are very dull. Even without that comparison, the stretch
for Eastern religion is no match for what Progressive Rock bands like Yes did
so much better, more deeply, and more convincingly. Those titles include: The River, Save Me, Certain Slant Of Light,
Fire In The Head, The Bazaar, Shadows On The Mountainside, Sister Awake,
Temptation, Babylon, Release, Psychopomp, Heaven Coming Down, The Messenger,
and “new” song “Walking Wounded”.
Even if you want a spiritual band, Jars Of Clay are better than this.
That is not to say that Tea Party is phony, or
pretentious, but that they are re-traveling ground that has been long
broken. Even the making of the “Walking
Wounded” video does not add to anything.
These guys need either a breakthrough or a retirement, but unless you
are curious (or Canadian,) there’s not much here to recommend. Try it at your own risk.
- Nicholas Sheffo