Never judge a book by its cover. Three French men dressed as ladies with punk hair styles, a Union Jack and a picture of Big Ben present a mixed scene. At one point there’s a drunken rendition of the Beatles’s “Yellow Submarine” and there are many twisted and distorted add-ons to this mostly instrumental production. But Mörglbl have been around a long time and I guess their cult following expects more than a modicum of eccentricity.
The bizarre façade is just one aspect of “Tea Time for Pünks”. Of course it’s not normal. What dominates this album however is the swanky Steve Vai like chill-out guitar playing on tracks like the substantial and epic “Rood” and the curiously titled “Chinese Buffet”. For track titles “Mariachi’s Burger” takes some beating – it’s a good track too. “Mariachi’s Burger” is fast and pumped up technical jam, with an enjoyable descent into sound distortion and insanity. Here and there I heard Manfred Mann’s Earth Band style psychedelic, moody break-outs which have significant tinges of jazz. The moods vary and “Far Tea Time” is a piece of much more deep and dangerous rock. The guitar work is controlled and flamboyant, diverging into occasional serene soundscapes.
I was writing this album off as being just mostly instrumental work of good quality and technical finesse with odd voices, distortions and samples, but the last two tracks saved the day for me. “God Shaved the Queen” is darker and more atmospheric than most, while “Atomic Tom Mohawk” has an eastern sound and pumping rhythm which gets rooted in the head.
I found “Tea Time for Pünks” a challenging album to listen to. It can be interesting, amusing and absorbing but the various add-ons make it strange and for me deprived it of continuity. Some passages were fluent but as I write now, what I remember of it is the parts rather than the whole.
(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)