Alpha Male Tea Party sound like the sort of band who should be an absolute chore to listen to. Instrumental prog rock brings about images of extended guitar solos, freeform song structures that spend too long going nowhere and the lack of vocal melodies can be an instant turn-off for a lot of music fans. With the band’s sophomore album Droids, the band seek to trim all the fat that bloats progressive music to unnatural sizes and instead focus on massive riffs and songs that contain more manageable run-times.
What’s really quite clever about Droids is how the opening track Happy as Larry, Larry is Dead actually contains some sparse vocals. These short bursts of yelping suit the angular nature of the track but what really strikes you is the treacle-thick guitar riffs that stand loud and proud at the front of the mix.
When the next track You Eat Houmous, Of Course You Listen to Genesis rolls around (yes, all the track titles are this bizarre) you soon begin to appreciate how important the guitar melodies are to Alpha Male Tea Party’s sound. The whole track is driven by some seriously bouncy, chunky, chord-heavy guitar work and it’s also bolstered by some fantastic bass-lines that are just as groovy and twangy as the guitar riffs.
What doesn’t become apparent until you pay some serious attention to it is that the vocals don’t appear again on any of the following songs on Droids. This is a particularly clever move on Alpha Male Tea Party’s part as the focus is put directly on their music instead of their vocal delivery. It’s a true testament to the band’s song writing that Alpha Male Tea Party’s music is strong enough without vocals that you simply don’t notice when they completely vanish.
Despite the progressive nature of the band’s music, their ideas are condensed into songs that average 4 minutes in length and they always put their guitar and bass melodies directly at the front of the mix so you can really appreciate the band’s song writing. It’s a genius move by some extremely talented musicians.
We can’t finish without mentioning how wonderfully unique it all sounds. The album is generally quite positive in tone despite the heavy, riff-lead structure of the music and it leads to a sound that can only be described as Alpha Male Tea Party. It’s getting extremely more difficult to stand out in heavy music these days but Alpha Male Tea Party need to be applauded for creating a record that truly sounds like them and them alone.
This is an easy recommendation to make; you need Alpha Male Tea Party’s Droids in your life. This a wonderfully unique and riff-laden record that is loaded with catchy melodies. Despite the progressive nature of the band’s music, they manage to make it incredibly palatable and Droids is a considerable more enjoyable experience for it.
Alpha Male Tea Party’s Droids is out now via Superstar Destroyer Records. You can buy a copy by clicking here.