Album Reviews

The dB’s & Friends: Christmas Time Again! (Omnivore)

CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN

The dB’s & Friends
Christmas Time Again!
Omnivore Records

Power-poppers The dB’s initiated an interesting project—a Christmas compilation album. Christmas Time, released in 1986, was an interesting segue between the band’s independent and major label tenures. Over the next few decades, what started off as an EP of material has been enhanced with new tracks from friends and colleagues of the band. This year, it sees another reissue and updating, featuring a handful of new tracks along with classics from previous editions. The compilers added a dictum: if at all possible, present an original composition.  That’s what makes Christmas Time Again! such an engaging listen; sure, there are a handful of songs you know and love, but most of the twenty-two songs are new. Don’t worry, though; for the most part, these new songs are excellent—whether it be the melancholy Whiskeytown number “Houses On The Hill,” the jaunty Peter Holsapple composition “Home For The Holidays,” and Ted Lyons’ spectacular country instrumental, “Santa’s Moonlight Sleighride”  Live takes of Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ” as performed by Big Star-Third and a Hanukkah-minded update of Doc Pomus’ “Seven Day Weekend” by Yo La Tengo  and Jeff Tweedy are new additions, as is a wild and weirdly wonderful Robyn Hitchcock number “The Day Before Boxing Day.”  Christmas Time has been a college-rock favorite, and this updated edition continues that tradition. Merry Christmas!

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