Hailing from Japan, TEE (short for The Earth Explorer) is a brand new instrumental band that specializes in their own brand of symphonic progressive rock, fusion along with some Canterbury & Italian progressive rock influences. The band is comprised of Kenji Imai (flute), Ryuji Yonekura (keyboards), Takayuki Asada (drums), Yukio Iigahama (bass) and Katsumi Yoneda (guitars). There are some vocals done by each of the band members but almost like harmony vocals.
Their first studio album, The Earth Explorer was released in early 2009 by a joint venture between Musea & Poseidon Records. At first I was thinking TEE would be similar sounding to another recent popular Japanese band, Naikaku but I was pleasantly surprised with to hear something in a more melodic direction.
The Earth Explorer consists of six tracks that range in length from seven to eight-minutes. Each song takes you on a journey of fun progressive rock. While nothing groundbreaking, TEE provides some beautiful songs that should stand side by side with current and classic Japanese progressive rock bands. I’m also reminded of some English bands throughout the album like Camel, Caravan, Steve Hackett and a few others.
The Earth Explorer is the band’s first ‘studio’ album, it is also the second release , the first was a live CD, ’First Voyage’, which was recorded in 2007 at Japan’s biggest prog festival, the Poseidon Festival. Which seems to have secured the success of the band in Japan that should help open some doors for them in Europe and the UK.
TEE is slowly becoming one of my favorite new bands and their album, ‘The Earth Explorer is a strong contender for my top favorite releases in 2009. It’s an amazing album that keeps me hitting the ‘repeat’ button. I just can’t stop listening to this album. In conclusion, I must say this is a HIGHLY recommended release by an amazing band!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 31st, 2009