In The Wake

Tea Leaf Green

Green House Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green is an independent band that has been on the road and in the studio for nearly 17 years.  They have produced gritty and catchy rock ‘n’ roll while carving out a nice niche for themselves on the American music scene.

They began as a party band during the second half of the 1990s and quickly developed into one of the more interesting rock groups on the indy scene. Now, keyboardist Trevor Garrod, guitarist Josh Clark, drummer Scott Rager, bassist Reed Mathis, and percussionist Cochrane McMillan have released my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 In The Wake, which is the most personal and in many ways the most powerful album of their career.

All the songs are original, penned by the members of the group, with Clark, Garrod, and Mathis exploring themes of their life’s journeys, such as loss, separation, and ultimately, the healing that the passage of time brings. The lyrics are encased in catchy and sometimes melodic rock ‘n’ roll with a touch of strings and horns in places.

“Penny Saved” is the disc’s strongest track, fusing a piano with some strings and placing it on top of a solid bass beat. “All Our Love” uses the strings in a more delicate manner, filling in the gaps in the rock sound.  “Give Me One More Chance” has a soul flavor to it and is an uplifting piece of music.

I don’t know if it’s the best, but the most interesting music here is Josh Clark’s space trilogy, for want of a better description. “Space Hero” parts two through four are joined by concept and would have been connected by the music had they not been interspersed throughout the album rather than being presented together in a mini-suite style.  When I listen to them in a row, it is a better experience. The use of an acoustic guitar among the keyboards before transitioning toward a harder sound and connecting the songs together is an adventurous leap for the band.

In The Wake catches Tea Leaf Green in transition, and it’s good to see a band exploring new directions without leaving their past party/jam roots completely behind.  They have produced a thoughtful album that hopefully will serve as a foundation as they move into the future.

Rating: B

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© 2013 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Green House Records, and is used for informational purposes only.