Straight No Chaser: Christmas Cheers

RIYL: Quirky, comedy infused classic holiday vocal music

There really isn’t another group like Straight No Chaser. All they do is holiday-themed music, and they do it their own way – that is, a cappella. With their new one, Christmas Cheers, the follow up to 2008’s Holiday Spirits, the group took even more risks than before. The soulful, R&B-infused vocal runs, techniques and harmonies are all there, and they effectively weave comedic bits into classic material without skipping a beat. That’s all well and good, but the novelty has worn off with just 12 months between releases, and some of these tracks tend to run into one another. The opening track, “The Christmas Can-Can,” is really funny with terms like “Shop until you lose your mind.” And some of the other really pretty classics include “Christmastime is Here” and “O Holy Night,” and there is a hilarious yet nicely done version of “You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch.” But maybe the best track of all is the studio version of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” a track the group released as a live take last year and which has become their trademark. So give Christmas Cheers a fair listen, but be warned – you may not make it past two or three listens before January. (Atlantic 2009)

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