Here’s the thing about Tea Leaf Green’s new album, Radio Tragedy! – it’s confusing.
There are glimpses of what the band is capable of, what they’ve proven they’re great at – creating great songs with catchy hooks and stellar musicianship. The issue becomes one the songs themselves – stylistically, they’re all over the map.
Radio Tragedy! kicks off with all that Tea Leaf Green has proven to be. “All Washed Up” is a great, for lack of better terms, “Tea Leaf Green” song. It’s powered by the music, with a great key solo from Trevor Garrod breaking up his solid lyrical delivery.
From there, though, things derail; “Easy To Be Your Lover” could easily be a Bee Gees cover, and the following “You’re My Star” is basically garage rock. From there, the band hits up another genre, before settling into the acoustic “My Oklahoma Home” which works for the band and shows off their vocal harmonies.
For all the missteps, “Germinating Seed” is stellar; it’s perfect Tea Leaf Green on an otherwise flawed album. With a great instrumental foundation led by Reed Mathis bass work, the band powers through with their musical chops, propelling the listener through the instrumental breaks between verses. Josh Clark’s guitar work, whichÂ is largely absent from Radio Tragedy! (considering his prominence on previous albums), shines brightly mid-song.
The issue with Radio Tragedy! isn’t one of execution. For all the genre-bending that takes place across the album, the songs are good at face-value, but hopping from style to style kills the disc’s continuity. Tea Leaf Green is at their very best when they’re going balls-to-the-wall, with Clark’s blistering guitar solos flying over the expert bass work of Mathis, while Garrod delivers poignant vocals. It is the sound that fans have come to love, but that is mostly missing from Radio Tragedy!. For a rookie act, it’d be understandable, but for a proven band like Tea Leaf Green it’s just perplexing.