The Britannicas – High Tea (2014)

Good things are only to be expected when the names Herb Eimerman, Magnus Karlsson, Joe Algeri, and Stefan Johansson appear on record because these guys have been key players on the independent pop circuit for a couple of decades now. But they didn’t connect as a whole until 2010, which was when they pooled their talents, formed a band and cut a self-titled album, that not surprisingly, garnered screamingly superb reviews from every quarter imaginable.

The band’s second album, High Tea (JAM Recordings), proposes the same seasonings embedded in The Britannicas, meaning the guitars ring with glee, the harmonies are absolutely heartstopping, and the melodies are invigorating and inventive. Delivering their synchronized-sculpted songs with a punchy purpose, the band inhabits a plane occupied by the likes of the Searchers, the Byrds, and Dave Edmunds. A nifty mash-up of folk rock, country rock, power pop, and even some rockabilly grooves, carpets the music. Time-traveling for inspiration, yet adding a new edge to the game, the Britannicas wield a sound that will never go out of style.

Not a single misstep is heard on High Tea, resulting in an album that requires no shuffling on the fancy gadgets of today. From the hard rocking crook of “The Moment Passed” to sweetly-salted songs such as “Talkin’ Bout Summer” and “Lyin’ On The Ground” to the strong and sturdy pop rock mechanisms of “Got A Hold On Me,” the album flows and flourishes with appealing activity. A sparkling cover of Del Shannon’s “I Got You” is also included on High Tea, while “I Work At The Post Office,” “Bleed Between The Lines,” “Come On Boys,” and “A Shag And A Cup O’ Tea” sail in as further examples of the band’s ability to parent songs devised of width, depth, and lip-smacking hooks and arrangements.

Free of excess, High Tea gets right down to the nitty gritty. These are the sort of songs you’ll remember upon first listen and will still be listening to years later. If there’s one band that has a handle on tweaking traditional pop rock to modern effects, it’s the Britannicas, and High Tea is a terrific testimony to their expertise.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.