The Minneapolis-based band Tea and Sympathy plays acoustic rock with a heavy Irish/Celtic influence. This is their second album, a follow-up to 1996's Sweet Romance. The focal point of the group is singer/songwriter Alicia Corbett. With a vocal style reminiscent of other distinctive singers like Stevie Nicks and Linda Perry from 4 Non Blondes, Corbett has the type of unique voice that will stay in your head forever and is guaranteed to draw attention, whether you love her or hate her. Her voice is very emotive. The distinctive warbling vibrato often seems to be on the verge of giving out, and she can go down to a hoarse whisper in quiet moments, but the effect is magnificent. It seems to give a sad and tragic feel to even the band's upbeat songs. This album is organized into a loose concept album, with the first nine songs grouped together as "The Happy Hours," the next four as "After Hours," and the last three as "The Wee Hours." Any way you cut it, however, the whole thing works due to Corbett's singular presence. The album covers many moods. Highlights include the menacing "Arabian Death Song," the dramatics of "The Novel," and the romantic "The Birthday Song" and "Red Red Sky." After just one listen, most anyone would be infatuated and entranced by her spell. Surely, this album is evidence that Alicia Corbett is bound for bigger and better things.
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