With Shakespearean flair, Mississauga trio Tea Room include this note on the Bandcamp page of their latest EP Dress Up: “The world is just a huge costume party and we’re all playing dress up”.
It’s a pretty pointed statement on the anxieties we often have about fitting in. We put on different costumes — to go to work, on dates, when visiting with family members — all with the hope that these falsified versions of ourselves will be accepted by others.
But what does it mean to stay true to yourself? Tea Room ponder this question on Dress Up. As Gabrielle Brigid highlights on “Haru (春),” Tea Room wonder if they’re maintaining their own authenticity: ”my vaseline smile feels just a little tight, I don’t like the way it shines.” But they also question if the people they surround themselves with are being honest too: “I got a lot in my heart, but so do you and you can hide if you like but I know it to be true,” sings Bridgid on “Devil May Care.”
Dress Up sounds like how a costume’s tulle feels: coarse. These five songs are lo-fi power-pop fueled by too much caffeine and scones — a delicious combination. The riotous guitars on “Froggy” are deliriously swampy, while on “Hello Idol,” Tea Room play at a more leisurely pace but still inject the song with a plucky attitude: an EP staple. On “All OK” Tea Room uncover the truth beneath the artifice. It’s a deceivingly upbeat song that cuts and slashes at our get-ups and wipes off the stage makeup. And it feels gloriously free.