If you thought that the twang of country couldn't be combined with tedious sound effects and mild musical enthusiasm, then the monotonous sounds of Mad Tea Party's latest, Big Top Soda Pop, will quickly prove you wrong. The catchy guitar riff that begins opener "62 Years" shows promise, but the dry, folk feel established here fails to develop throughout the overlong 13 tracks. Singer Ami Worthen, off-key and overly chirpy, wails over redundant, bouncy bass and guitar lines that closely resemble the opening music at a Barnum & Bailey act. In the one remotely appealing track, "Nora Trip," Mad Tea finally eliminates unnecessary and grating ukulele lines and incorporates some coherent structure, but fails to create enough musical intrigue to engage the listener. Getting through Big Top Soda Pop is a struggle that offers few rewards.


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