Compared in her press notes to Chrissy Hyde, Joan Armatrading and Tracy Chapman, Billie Myers is back with a new album – her first since parting ways with previous label Universal. Her previous ventures saw her hit pop highs with single ‘Kiss The Rain’ and album ‘Growing, Pains’, but now she’s going it alone with a far more indie based sound.
Lead single ‘Wonderful’ is the exception that proves the rule – released on the same day and replete with a solid pop chorus, sleek production, and an excellent drop out/kick in dynamic section close to the end. It’s a strong song, but almost a shame that this has been used to represent the album. It’s understandable – ‘Wonderful’ is a straightforward, mainstream track with mass appeal – but isn’t representative of the album as a whole. I’ve read another review of the album comparing Myers to Alanis Morrisette, taking personal struggles and turning them into dark, independent tracks, and it’s these songs that are the core strength of ‘Tea & Sympathy’.
‘Send Me An Angel’ (which directly follows ‘Wonderful’ in the track list) is the first hint of the movement to new territory. An electronic opening has an ominous tone which feeds into the rhythmic, almost tribal verse which in turn breaks into the impactful chorus. Overall, this tone is far more typical of the LP, and would have made a superb introductory single. Alternatively, ‘You Wear Heaven’ brings in an Americana vibe that hints at the number of different styles Myers plays with throughout the album.
Taking everything into account, ‘Tea & Sympathy’ is an album we can recommend – from the pop sensibilities to the roots stylings via a touch of electronica. You might well love the lead single, in which case you should definitely check out the album. If you don’t think ‘Wonderful’ lives up to its name though, there’s still plenty here to catch your attention.