Already a hit in his native Australia, Tea & Sympathy is the solo debut of Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning. Powderfinger conquered Australia with melodic rock records that looked back to past rock giants for inspiration.
The record is an acoustic based affair that steers toward country, blues, funk, rock and pop. Fanning falls into the sensitive singer/songwriter role but mercifully avoids the traps that ensnare so many dripper artists with that label. He never whines or pouts, he just sticks to delivering emotional, well-written songs.
Fanning's voice is rich and suited for this kind of music. He seems to have employed an army of guitar players. Most of them accentuate his songs with memorable lines and moods. The first track "The Thrill is Gone" apes a few of the riffs from Led Zeppelin III, but any obvious comparisons end there.
Tea & Sympathy, despite being top heavy with the more upbeat and memorable songs, is a quality listen the whole way through. It's no surprise this record was a hit. It's good music. Maybe that idea will start to catch on here in the states.