Tea Tornado

Tea Tornado

by Marmoset

CD

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Overview

"You can't understand my evil/It hides in the depths of my grey matter," sings Jorma Whittaker on Tea Tornado, and he's right: years after Marmoset's compulsively oddball debut, Today It's You, the band's collision of super-simple melodies and cryptic charm remains as mysterious as ever. That oddness is a blessing and a curse, sometimes delivering delightfully bent art pop and other times serving up riddles whose answers are locked away in the band's brains. However, on Tea Tornado, Marmoset downplay that unpredictability a tad more than they did on Florist Fired. The sprightly, snotty "Written Today," "Hallway"'s Anglophile garage rock, and the darkly catchy "Come with Me" -- which plays like late-'80s-style college rock never went away -- are all remarkably direct, providing guideposts for the stranger moments that inevitably follow. A fruit motif runs through some of the album's best songs, if only tangentially -- "Strawberry Shortcakes"' irresistible start-and-stop bassline and vaguely threatening singsong vocals make it a quintessential Marmoset song. On "Peach Cobbler," Whittaker seems to boil longing down to its purest essence, singing "You are pretty, you are strong and you are funny" before slipping into absurdity: "And I am the boy who found you/And turned it into peach cobbler." He sounds just as devoted on the chiming "You, Blueberry Muffin." Yet not all of Tea Tornado's weirdness is writ large. "Toy" and "Gretchen" are whispery yet angular, with just enough strangeness to keep from disappearing entirely. With winding tracks like these and "Empty Room," Marmoset are more entitled than almost any other band to have a song called "Musing." The album has only a couple of full-scale freakouts -- which, in some ways, makes them even freakier. "He's Been Napping" may or may not be about the strangest disco nap ever, and "Run Away, Teri" mashes odd bits of spoken (and screaming) word and oddly wistful guitar together in a way that's not accessible but is somehow catchy despite everything. "Oh' Dear Handlebars" closes the album with slow-motion mischief that's more than a little unsettling, and a lot Marmoset. At its best, Tea Tornado plays like a more concise Today It's You, and a decade on, they're still as much of an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in mystery.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/04/2009
Label: Joyful Noise Records
UPC: 0656605508429
catalogNumber: 35
Rank: 134251

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