It’s common for latter-day prog bands to mimic the 70s pioneers, some even resorting to parody. Yet there are acts, The Tea Club among them, who have merely taken a lead from the likes of Genesis and enhanced that echo of the past with an innovative twist.
Rather like the first time you heard Big Big Train, the overriding sensation when listening to Grappling is the similarity of singer Dan McGowan’s vocal inflections to those of Peter Gabriel. But those first impressions rapidly evaporate when the full realisation of just what a challenging, modern and frequently scintillating album this is. Opener The Magnet is full of lyrical whimsy, with flourishing keyboards and shrewd melodies reminiscent of Selling England-era Genesis. Remember Where You Were is similarly dramatic, and shows a growing maturity when compared to earlier albums. And it’s that spectacular development that’s the overriding feature here: both The Fox In A Hole and The White Book showcasing their innovative sound, dexterity and knack for writing accomplished tracks. With a little luck, exposure and continued self-belief, this Philadelphia band could have an incredible future.