High Tea

by The Britannicas

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about

Review #9

Let’s start with the obvious. Hail The Britannicas, an international supergroup of sorts whose roster hails from Chicago, Sweden and Australia, and whose mantra is based on the sound of unabashed power pop and retro references that make that style seem so universal. Bassist/vocalist Herb Eimerman’s early association with the Shoes and guitarist/vocalist Joe Algeri’s solo efforts in the Land Down Under imbue this trio with high expectations, standards they’ve managed to live up to even despite logistics that find them living several continents apart. High Tea follows up where the band’s initial outing ended, all bright, effervescent melodies served up in sunny pop tradition. Still, labels are often meaningless when it comes to the music itself. After all, what is power pop in fact if not a certain reverence towards timeless rock tradition? Indeed, while all three members share in the songwriting, Del Shannon’s “I Got You” bears a true testament to one of their more obvious influences. Mostly though, High Tea provides the kind of boundless joy and unencumbered enthusiasm that any radio-ready pop was once bound to offer in the aftermath of the Beatles prior to the dawning of overwrought prog. Cheery and contagious, this is music marked by superb sounds only, all well worth experiencing.
- Lee Zimmerman

www.nodepression.com/album-review/lees-listening-stack-dozen-all-new-reviews-august
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Review #8

With guitars a-jangling and harmonies a-ringing The Britannicas keep one foot in the power poppy now and one in the ‘60s summer of love, concocting a hyper-melodic collection of irresistible pop songs that bop and sway and shimmy their way into your head and hearts instantly.

Comprising American bassist Herb Eimerman, Australian guitarist and singer Joe Algeri and Swedish guitarist and drummer Magnus Karlsson and Stefan Johansson, the Britannicas write and assemble their music with a lot of back and forth emails and Skypeing, but you wouldn’t know it as this – their second album – sounds as cohesive as any band you could name.

There’s touches of Beatledom here and there, especially in the melodies and some of the simpler rhythms (More Like Than Different, I Work At The Post Office, Too Far Gone), a Byrdsy jangle with a pinch of country pop (Talkin’ Bout Summer), and even a sneer and a ragged riff from the Oasis school (The Moment Passed).

A Shag And A Cup Of Tea is Austin Powers-rific, and takes the wilfully-retro theme of the project to it’s logical, quirky zenith with a knowing wink and a cheeky grin.
- Shane Pinnegar
7.5/10

magazine.100percentrock.com/cd-reviews/201408/64671
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Review #7

And here’s another recent pop treasure. Jam Records released the new The Britannicas album High Tea a few weeks ago. The Britannicas is a really international pop group. The band members are Joe Algeri from Australia, Herb Eimerman from USA and Magnus Karlsson from Sweden. Plus special guest Stefan Johansson from Sweden. These days you can live in different continents and still create magnificent pop music together. All three tunesmiths have written four originals and on top of that you get a Del Shannon cover I Got You. There’s a a lot of sweet pop jangle, a bit of psychedelic west coast pop of the sixties, some Kinks-y rockers. Well just all kinds of fabulous melodic pop music. You can listen to the whole thing on their bandcamp page. I selected Karlsson’s Talkin’ ’bout Summer below, because it’s just insanely hot in Finland right now (Maybe not by Australia’s standards).
- Vesa

www.onechord.net/2014/08/03/the-legal-matters-the-britannicas//
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Review #6

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

somethingelsereviews.com/2014/07/26/the-britannicas-high-tea-2014/
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Review #5

I am pleased to report that there is no sophomore slump for the quartet of Herb Eimerman, Magnus Karlsson, Joe Algeri and Stefan Johansson (all excellent pop musicians in their own right)! Rickenbacker 12-string guitars ring and chime throughout the disc’s thirteen tracks. Standout jangly tracks include “Got A Hold On Me,” “More Like Than Different,” “Sign Out,” “Talkin’ Bout Summer,” “Too Far Gone,” “A Shag And A Cup Of Tea” and “Lyin’ On The Ground.” High Tea is a long-distance collaboration by the Britannicas – much like their kindred spirits in Starbyrd. Without a doubt, this is some of the finest pseudo-60s pop music to be released in several years.

www.popgeekheaven.com/music-discovery/jangle-on-july-2014
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Review #4

The power pop trio, comprised of Herb Eimerman (USA), Magnus Karlsson (Sweden), and Joe Algeri (Australia) are back! “Got A Hold On Me” starts our jangley Byrds-Beatles power pop goodness, written by Eimerman. Karlsson’s “Talkin’ ’bout Summer” is reminiscent of Chris Stamey till it gets to the harmony-filled chorus and Algeri’s hard guitar fuzz dresses up “The Moment Passed.” The psychedelic “Bleed Between The Lines” has a trippy retro Rickenbacker rhythm line. Unlike the debut, the tracks don’t feel forced into any Merseybeat template, and it feels like more of a group effort doing what they like and sounding natural at it.

Ironically none of the band members are British, although late ’60s rock is clearly the guiding influence. “A Shag and A Cup O’ Tea” could’ve been a real funny novelty song, but instead is a whimsical come-on. Each band member brings unique qualities for their respective songs, they work well on Kinks inspired “I Work At The Post Office” and Mod flavored gem “More Like Than Different.” The echoing production of “Will Someone Cover Your Fall” chugs along, then add to this an excellent cover of Del Shannon’s “I Got You,” and there are plenty of gems here to place this in the highly recommended category. Get it now!
8/10

www.powerpopaholic.com/2014/07/britannicas-pujol.html
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Review #3

Joe Algeri has formed a live outfit and is more prominent on local stages than he has been for many years, and to celebrate he has retreated to the studio to make the sophomore album with his intercontinental pop project The Britannicas. Joining the original trio on High Tea is another of Algeri’s Swedish friends, Stefan Johansson, on drums.

Nerk Twins’ Herb Eimerman is said to be the soul of the band, but he is also a man who is studiously versed in the history of power pop. His opening salvo, Got A Hold On Me, could be an instant classic as it captures everything that is good about the genre from The Raspberries to Matthew Sweet and all that comes in between.

Algeri is the team captain and also the more experimental mind of the collective. The Moment Passed moves from abrasive guitars to toned down sweetness and hits some other touchstones on the way to keep the listener honest. To ensure that his pop prowess can’t be questioned, Algeri effortlessly offers up I Work At The Post Office to take home the chocolates. Karlsson rounds out the group as the resident heartbreaker with his softer, yet no less melodic, tunes like Sign Out.

High Tea is another step forward for The Britannicas who benefit greatly from the three different voices and personalities without having to sacrifice talent. On High Tea, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

xpressmag.com.au/the-britannicas/
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Review #2

High Tea, the title of the latest effort from The Britannicas, has an appropriate regal significance but the CD could have just as easily been named Iced Tea. Not only because of its July release date, but also because these 13 songs sport breezy power pop arrangements. The international trio, comprised of American Herb Eimerman, Swede Magnus Karlsson, and Australian Joe Algeri, continues to draw inspiration from original British Invasion bands as well as American acts like The Beach Boys and The Byrds.

Karlsson’s catchy “Talkin’ ’Bout Summer” celebrates a season when romances are fun though often temporary, and Algeri serves up memories of teenage action from 1965 amidst the hard-edged pop of “The Moment Passed.” The members of The Britannicas share similar traits when it comes to songwriting, but each has his own style and quirks. Algeri, who also performs as The JAC, tends toward offbeat material like the Kinks-inspired “I Work At The Post Office,” while Eimerman favors love songs with enigmatic lyrics. His “Bleed Between The Lines” sounds like it could have been a hit single in 1965. On his catchy “Come On Boys,” Karlsson incorporates church choir harmonies and acoustic guitar as he advises young adults on how to navigate relationships and a troubling world.

High Tea also includes “I Got You,” a well-executed Del Shannon cover that The Britannicas previously contributed to a tribute album to the late American singer. Other highlights include Eimerman’s jangling love song, “Got A Hold On Me” and Algeri’s simultaneously ribald and touchingly romantic “A Shag And A Cup O’ Tea.”

brokenheartedtoy.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/the-britannicas-high-tea.html
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Review #1

I came to the party a little late, last year I’d loved a cover of Del Shannon’s “I Got You” by a band I assumed was another young member of the power pop brigade the Britanicas, they sounded like a cross between the Apples In Stereo and Badfinger. I wrote about the song and my Facebook friend Herb Eimerman told me he was the bassist for the band and pointed me in the direction of their 2010 eponymous debut album.

Suitably impressed, I patiently awaited the sophomore effort or a tour or something. And what I got was the delightfully titled High Tea though I won’t be getting the tour I don’t think. The Britannicas are the Dr. Luke of rock, they build songs through file sharing, Herb in the US, singer Joe Algeri in Australia, and guitarist Magnus Karlsson and drummer Stefan Johansson from Sweden. Obviously, the question that arises immediately is, whither band chemistry? Listening to the mix of Byrdsy zoom lens and country guitar break on Karlsson’s “Will Someone Cover Your Fall”, this is no Sweetheart nascent country rock but still some sort of group dynamic rethinking and the chemistry… well, ask yourself this, if I hadn’t told you the band weren’t in the same room, would you think they were born in the same studio and raised in captivity?

“More Like Than Different” and first single “Got A Hold On Me”, two Eimerman originals, lead the way: Producer Algeri is too quirky with his own material, they take a coupla spins to kick into high gear, but Herb is ear candy, sweet but not sugary melodic. Algeri is a rougher rocker, and also has a quirky sense of tempo, on “The Moment Passed” he zooms forward before slowly down and some electric guitar is thrown in and then it winds slow and emerges forward again. It is vertiginous and while it is translating time by definition, it is also strangely druggy. To use the classic terms, Joe is playing Lennon to Herb’s McCartney and Karlsson’s Harrison. The trio play off each other’s expectations, and their own (I could have sworn “Bleed Between The Lines” was Algeri) , they leave you wondering what is coming next and it is always worth the wait.

The twelve tracks on the album, three remixed from Three Sided Single, the Del Shannon cover, the first single, and seven brand spanking new tracks are all worth your while though I do have one problem with the band: I find their lyric a little generic. Storytellers yes, and good ones, but they don’t always match the intensity of the music. The just about perfect “A Shag And A Cup Of Tea” (except for the song title, of course) with a lovely break, tells a good story and well, it moves forward, and it has the whining sense of loss. A nice axiom would have made it a masterpiece.

Still, this is a superb better living through science for anybody married to high melodic pop songs. Dr. Luke should be so lucky.

Grade: A-

rocknycliveandrecorded.com/the-britannicas-high-tea-reviewed.html
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What difficult second album? The various band members of the Britannicas hit that hump years ago with their previous projects, like a good wine, they’re just getting better.

The Britannicas are Herb Eimerman (solo, Nerk Twins - USA), Magnus Karlsson (happydeadmen, the Charade - SWEDEN) and Joe Algeri (Jack & the Beanstalk, the JAC – AUSTRALIA). The lads are separated by thousands of miles of ocean but they use modern technology to make old-school pop music.

The 2010 self-titled album drew critical acclaim and just plain amazement within the indie and power-pop scenes around the world; how can something supposedly so disjointed sound so cohesive and melodic?

Their secret is still more instinctive feel rather than science; Herb is the bottom, the soul and the harmony of the band, Magnus is the twee and the twang in the middle, and Joe brings the soft and hard edges to the mix and completes this crazy sonic experiment. This time around they are also joined by another talented Swede on drums, Stefan Johansson (the Lemon Clocks, Yesterday Girl Records).

So can we expect more of the same on the second long-player? No, High Tea is better – more organic, more melodic, sweeter, brighter, louder – built on a palette of amazing guitar tones and rich vocal harmonies.

High Tea opens with the band’s recent, effervescent Got A Hold On Me single. In addition we get all the tracks from the 3 Sided Single, remixed and remastered. All up there are 12 originals plus their wondrous cover of Del Shannon’s I Got You from the recent tribute compilation.

Official release is slated for 11 July worldwide and is available as a download and a limited edition CD pressing on JAM records.

www.jamrecordings.com

credits

released 11 July 2014

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HERB EIMERMAN (USA) - vocals, bass
MAGNUS KARLSSON (SWEDEN) - vocal, guitar
JOE ALGERI (AUSTRALIA) - vocals, guitar, keys
With special guest:
STEFAN JOHANSSON (SWEDEN) - drums

Recorded in respective home studios around the world. Mixed and produced by Joe Algeri.

Mastering by George Luif from Tranquility One Studios.
Design and layout by Dimitri Dimitriadis.
Original art concepts by Erika Algeri.

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Track Name: Got A Hold On Me
Yeah how things look and how they sound
and how to change what's allowed
the first words that were spoken in some time
out on a limb at the top of the tree
why didn't you pick me
you held back knowing everything

Something's got a hold on me
yeah something's got a hold on me

What are you goin' to do with me
i wouldn't take back anything
and the less you say the clearer things become
at the surface at the boiling point
the listener didn't disappoint
and i wouldn't take back anything

Something's got a hold on me
yeah something's got a hold on me

You sat right down to cross your legs
and said don't lose track of the simple things
yeah simple things

What are you goin' to do with me
i wouldn't take back anything
and the less you say the clearer things become
out on a limb at the top of the tree
why didn't you pick me
you held back knowing everything

Something's got a hold on me
yeah something's got a hold on me
got a hold on me
Track Name: Talkin' 'bout Summer
I see a ship coming 'round the bend
And wind curls water like it's heaven sent
Shouldn't we be talking about this

Sun shines bright and the kids get noisy
The world seems better when beer starts floating
Should have been talking about this

I know, winter was long and cold
Shouldn't we aim for
Summer
We should be laughing about it
Summer
Shouldn't we give it a go

Armpits are moist and our trousers burning
A fearless dive into an ocean then learning
Shouldn't you have warned me about this

Hot air cold water someone to love
All we know is that nothing lasts forever
Shouldn't we keep quiet about it

We know seasons they come and go
But all we ever live for is
Summer
We should be happy about it
Summer
Nothing can keep us away

Summer
Track Name: The Moment Passed
Let’s put on our sneakers
and go out and play
kick the ball so hard
‘cos it’s saturday
you can dress as king
and I’ll be your queen
hold that thought
cos’ I haven’t thought of mine
hey baby we got plenty of time

Crank up the volume
to shake their bones
punch out the lights
‘cos there’s nobody home
let’s keep on running
for no reason at all
hold that thought
cos’ I haven’t thought of mine

But now nothing could be better
if I could write this letter
back to 1965
if you were born and I was still alive
in my dreams we’d build a ship
and make it built to last
but it’s too late
the moment passed

We’re seventeen and we’re here to stay
shout from the roof just to hide away
we need more red paint for this town
hold that thought
cos’ I haven’t thought of mine

Because nothing could be better
if sweet gum lasts forever
if a memory never cries
to dry away in the wink of an eye
in this old dusty place
the spring sings to my heart
I was too late
the moment passed
Track Name: Come On Boys
Come on boys you didn’t move fast enough
you gotta catch up with yesterday
before you even think about it

Come on boys sleep all your worries off
and take things seriously
just don’t act in panic

You don’t have to sleep and pretend that the world is in order
just keep up the spirit and leave all the bad stuff behind you

Come on boys didn’t mean to give you a curse
just follow the right line
as if nothing’s happened

Come on boys reason is bigger than faith
clear up your faces
remember that nothing’s changed

You don’t have to feel it’s accomplished
until everything’s conquered
don’t ever be frightened future is lighter

Your mothers would hold you and take you school too
anyone who cried would have been cared for
if that’s what you feared for

Come on girls get ready for action you might even touch them
Come on girls allow them to hold you but don’t let them rule you
Track Name: Bleed Between The Lines
Bleed between the lines let go of everything
don’t dance the dance the way that we’ve been taught

Live a life that feeds all of your dreams
happiness you’ll find can’t be bought

Spent a lot of time working with my hands
thinking what I build would stay strong

Live a life that feeds all of your dreams
hold me by the hand this can’t be wrong

To anyone who’s watching
this may appear shocking
at times you need a break from the fall
but there’s a certain someone
who understands like no one
it’s time to shake the shadow off the wall
Track Name: A Shag And Cup o' Tea
I pick you up from the airport today
I can’t believe the day has come
I fiddle around with my hair and my clothes
I’m feeling like I’m 21

I feel my heart skip out of time
face after face but then my god I know that smile

Tell me the things you think of when you’re so far away
all of the things you dream of when your night is my day

When you look at me that way
I pull back the curtains let’s make the tea go cold

Say your holidays are forever
if you stay then even better
say you want to waste the morning
it could be nice with a shag and a another tea

Good morning what should we do today
I put on the kettle I open the curtains to a glorious day

When you look at me that way
I pull back the curtains let’s make the tea go cold

Say your holidays are forever
if you stay then even better
say you want to waste the morning
it could be nice with a shag and a another tea

I want you all the time

I dropped you off at the airport today
I can’t believe the day has come
I fumble around with my words and your bags
I’m feeling pretty down and dumb

I feel my heart skip out of time
tear after tear then my god you’re gone

Say your holidays are forever
if you stay then even better
say you want to waste the morning
each and every day

I want you all the time
Track Name: Sign Out
Sign out - you’ve got a head full
Sign out - you’ve got a head full
you’ve got a head full brain is glowing
you are sleepless thoughts are slowing
abusive language and strained relations

Sign out - you’ve got a head full
Sign out - you’ve got a head full
you’ve got a head full repair your senses
manage your temper assemble your spare time
and fill your life up then ask yourself
are you happy

And I don’t know and I don’t know
what to do

Sign out - you’ve got a head full
Sign out - you’ve got a head full
you’ve got a head full with different standpoints
lotsa anger cover your outbursts
remember your good sides and bring them back
now’s the time
Track Name: Too Far Gone
If I returned to France
would I remember what to say
and would you let me in
and what you pretend that it was nothing

So I never returned your calls
i wrote you letters that said nothing at all
i didn't know how to feel
i didn't know what was real

Has it been too long
too far gone
if I did you wrong
what would you say
would you turn away
has your heart moved on

Was it all about the flesh
when you hear my name do you detest
or do you blush and smile
like a taste of cheap old wine

Maybe that day will come
we might be wiser but not so young
will I know how to feel
will I know if it was real

Has it been too long
too far gone
if I did you wrong
what would you say
would you turn away
has your heart moved on
Track Name: More Like Than Different
Before you point a finger be sure your hands are clean
I’m tryin’ to find a way to keep her here with me

More like than different mirror mirror
you’ll see another side of me another side of you

Off to Madrid all on on my own
kill the ghost with my bare hands, all on my own

I know just what you need better than you know
rumor has it

I didn’t say that it was your fault I was just blaming you
from the bottom of my broken heart I was just blaming you

More like than different, mirror mirror
you’ll see another side of me another side of you
Track Name: I Work At The Post Office
I work at the post office
every morning I get up at 7.10
a slice and half of toast and butter
I leave for work and I start to dream

On the way to the bus I think about us
then I realize I’m standing in the middle of the road

I work at the post office
thank you sir I’m gonna lick my way to the top
It’s afternoon tea at 3:15
I light a fag and I start to dream

About the sound of the birds at times when I heard
then I realize it was nearly 20 years ago

This pin-striped life keeps spinning ‘round
around in circles with a
square old peg like me
who just don’t fit without you
who must keep dreaming of you

I work at the post office
I catch the bus back to nowhere at 5.38
I work at the post office
I live at the post office

And I start to dream
that I’ll receive your telegram
Track Name: I Got You
When the world gets me down
and I can’t seem to find my way around
your love is standing by
you’ll always know what I’m feelin’ deep inside

Love is what I do
just as long as you’ve got me and baby I got you

When the world gets you down
and you can’t seem to find your way around
my love is standing by
and I’ll be there if you need me at your side

To some love comes and it goes
but we got a love that’s so strong
it’s like a love nobody knows
Track Name: Will Someone Cover Your Fall
Oh please baby don't drink tonight
i’m tired of this circus and I don’t want to fight
your sister’s on the phone with a broken heart
the world is a mess, I don’t know where to start

It's a hard thing being optimistic in a world so cruel
waiting to grow up and finish school
and do what you wanna do and go where you wanna go

Just be patient and the tide will turn
remember your childhood as a lesson learned
teach your children to be proud and sound
respect yourself keep your feet on the ground

It's a hard thing predicting our future when we're cool and young
then remember what we did that was wrong
going through therapy deciding who's advice you should take
will Someone cover your fall?

It's a hard thing being optimistic in a world so cruel
waiting to grow up and finish school
and do what you wanna do and go where you wanna go

Will someone cover your fall
Track Name: Lyin' On The Ground
Inside my jacket pocket
there’s a hole and everything falls through it
and it all ends up lyin’ on the ground
I guess it doesn’t matter,
in the end it’s just stuff that scatters
it just all ends up lyin’ on the ground

Gettin’ next to nothin’ done
too early to think too early to tell too early to tell

Don’t get me wrong don’t get kicked around
like some old rodeo clown
there’s nothin’ you could do to ever bring me down
you got the parachute I got the crash and the boot
it just all ends up lyin’ on the ground
lyin’ on the ground yeah lyin’ on the ground

Gettin’ next to nothin’ done
really nowhere left to run to
sleep is the only freedom we know

Gettin’ next to nothin’ done
too early to think too early to tell too early to tell