Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra
Eta Carinae (EP)
Tea Pad Recordings
An Exotic Musical Cocktail That Will Make Your Heart Swing.
#Disclaimer ….. Rob Heron is a genuine ‘Friend of RMHQ’ and one of the very, very few people who grace these pages that would recognise me in a crowded room; and has bought me a cup of tea on more than one occasion.
The Teapads came bursting out of a wave of young musical madness that erupted in the North East around 2011/2012 and and it was instantly apparent that they were ‘special,’ in a ‘different’ kind of way.
While most of their peers have disappeared into the world of marriage, mortgage and holidays in Magaluf; Mr. Heron and friends have ploughed a very singular field that has evolved with not just every recording but, it could be said every live appearance too….. as no two gigs are ever the same.
While not a million miles different to the casual listener, from their debut LP in 2012 MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING, to those of us who have followed the band, this is actually light years away in construction, writing, playing and production!
The party starts with some feisty and danceable Western Swing on the ‘breakup song’ Swinging Like a Brick ……….
“You left my poor heart,
Shoulda been singin’
Swingin’ like a brick!”
We’ve all been there haven’t we? But Rob somehow makes this absolute tearjerker not just touching but toe-tapping too; which is a rare talent indeed.
Now anyone who knows these crazy cats, will know that they are no ‘one trick ponies’; as they can slip, slide and jive between musical modes with the greatest of ease; utilizing Rob and Tom Cronin’s bizarre and extensive record collections to great advantage.
Which brings us to the dark Gypsy Jazz of Black Dog; a daring step into the world of depression and wow…….. do they turn this very mature subject into a beautiful love song!
The title track, Eta Carinae appears twice; with a ‘Radio Edit’ tagged on at the end; although the original only comes in at 4.42 minutes; which is hardly Meat Loaf, is it?
The song is actually all that is good and great about The Tea Pad Orchestra; they are far more than just the man whose name is emblazoned at the front; here the Tea Pad Orchestra and Rob Heron, give his words the full Orchestral treatment and make it all as if it should be gracing a pre-WWII film set in Paris or Berlin (or Byker if you have a very vivid imagination!); with everyone giving their all without ever overshadowing the song itself.
Now, let’s just hope there’s a radio programmer brave enough to play it outside of Newcastle.
Then we skip back to track #2 Basket Full of Nothing for the RMHQ Favourite Track. In many ways, while the other songs are a massive leap forward for the band, this is Trademark Tea Pad; but that in it’s own little way is a beautiful thing …… sometimes you have to look backwards to move forwards.
As always it’s a love song of sorts; but one straight out of left field, and featuring some stunning violin playing, guitar and slap-bass ……. and those finger-clicks do it no harm at all either.
I know it’s a cliche but Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra just may be the hardest working band in the country, with each member nipping off to join other bands in their ‘down time’ and Rob Himself has several other side projects on the go at any time; and I can heartily recommend his occasional DJ spots …….. Tony Blackburn he ain’t!!
All of which comes together like a 1,000 piece musical jigsaw to create these fabulous four songs.
Released October 11th 2019