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Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra – Talk About The Weather (Album Review)

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rob heron

It’s always a difficult moment when you crack open a new release from a band you really like. Will it live up to your expectations? Will they have decided to embrace their drummer’s love of Russian death metal? Thankfully the new album from Newcastle’s hottest jazz and western swing combo delivers the goods in bucket (or should that be tea cup) loads.

The album explodes into life with the high-tempo ‘Drinking Coffee Rag’ showing Rob Heron’s dexterity with lyrics and vocals to the full. ‘Soliel’ doesn’t feature much french but is a paen to that favourite national pastime featured in the album title and has brilliant moment of syncopated mandolin and accordion chord progression in the song .

Next up is ‘Junk On The Radio’ which is the first in a number of commentary songs on ‘Talk About The Weather’ as Rob decimates the quality of broadcasting as apposed to the enjoyment of kitchen implements over a lackadaisical swing beat before the band decide enough is enough and they break out into a full-on dancearamma.

‘Crazy Country Radio’ is almost a refrain of ‘Money Isn’t Everything’ from the debut album of the same name (also very much worth checking out) especially lyrically. This is followed by ‘Hey Mr. Landlord’ where Rob laments the dreadfulness of his homeowner and ‘Small Town Blues’ with it’s distinctly country-flecked edge…by now you should be feeling the need to buy several copies of anything Tea Pad-related to make sure the boys aren’t left in this disgraceful state of affairs. The despondent verbiage continues as we get ‘Killed By Love’ a sorrowful tale of drink, love and loss.

Early single ‘High Speed Train’ is a message to the HS2 planners over a railroad beat (with accompanying loco-related video) before another little sadness from ‘I’m Feelin’ Blue’. The album closes in the uptempo style it started in with ‘Penny Drop Mambo’ and ‘Don’t Kick That Oven Door’.

A belter of an album that swings from to to fro showcasing a hugely-talented band and Rob Heron’s intelligent, sometimes comedic, sometimes acerbic words. The band are touring throughout the summer all across the UK including Boomtown Fair and Bestival. Buy the album and make sure you check them out live, you’re in for a treat!

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