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JFH Staff Review


Seabird, Over the Hills and Everywhere - A Christmas Ep
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Seabird
Over the Hills and Everywhere - A Christmas Ep



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 7 tracks: 24 minutes, 15 seconds
Street Date: October 15, 2010


With the Christmas season fast approaching, it's most definitely time for some new holiday music, and Seabird is at the top of that list. Riding on the success of 2009's The Silent Night EP, the band has returned with a more expanded project entitled Over the Hills and Everywhere - A Christmas EP. Filled with seven fresh renditions of seasonal favorites, the EP is a new and fun take on the classic Christmas sound.

Over the Hills and Everywhere starts off with a Coldplay-meets-Sherwood version of "Angels We Have Heard on High," filled with plenty of acoustic guitar and synth-laden goodness. Next up is the peppy "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and perhaps the best interpretation of "What Child is This" since it was originally penned. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" gets a completely new twist as singer Aaron Morgan's piano notes and a well-placed banjo turn the Christmas classic into a new Seabird gem. The EP slows down with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," spinning a bit of a contemplative mood into the mix with a crescendoing combination of keys and orchestral strings. Longtime listeners will remember the closing two tracks, the poppy "Joy to the World" and alternative-tinged "Silent Night," from the aforementioned Silent Night EP, as they manage to end Over the Hills on just as much of a high note as it started.

Seabird has proven itself as a much-needed breath of fresh air in the industry today, and Over the Hills is absolutely no different. In classic form, the band has managed to take seven Christmas selections and turn them into beautifully arranged, radio-friendly tunes without the result sounding processed or stale. Unfortunately, a little bit of seasonal spirit seems to have gotten lost in the sweeping melodies and exciting percussion. While Seabird's fresh looks at the timeless arrangements are irresistibly fun, they're only vaguely recognizable covers of the originals. Simply put, this is not your grandmother's Christmas album... and let's face it, sometimes the holidays require your grandmother's Christmas album.

All in all, Over the Hills and Everywhere is one of the most solid collection of Christmas songs to come around in quite some time. Easily accessible and deftly arranged, it's sure to stay stuck in your head long after the presents have been unwrapped and the tree has been taken down. If you can look past the minor detail that none of the enclosed tracks sound like any rendition you've ever heard previously, Over the Hills will make an excellent stocking stuffer.

- Review date: 12/2/10, written by Garrett DeRossett of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Late last year, listeners found the boys of Seabird releasing not only their sophomore record, Rocks Into Rivers, but also the two-song Silent Night EP; with two reimaginings of the Christmas classics "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World," they were unexpectedly remarkable additions to Seabird's repertoire of catchy, memorable tunes. Fast forward one year later and the quartet has expanded their Christmas collection to seven tracks, the result being Over the Hills and Everywhere - A Christmas EP. For those unfamiliar to Seabird's now-trademark method of changing up the music behind Christmas favorites, the approach will come as more than a surprise; the lyrics are kept intact, but on the first listen of "Angels We Have Heard On High," it's hard not to be at least a little stunned by the dramatic change in arrangement. Given enough time to adjust, most Seabird fans have the potential to buy into their methods; from the bouncy "Go Tell It On the Mountain" to the serene, piano-driven "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," most songs are adapted masterfully. A couple drawbacks are worth mentioning - "What Child Is This?" does a feel a little too upbeat in its composition compared to its original form, and it can be argued that Seabird's overall approach can eventually come across as at least slightly gimmicky by the EP's end. On its face, however, Over the Hills and Everywhere succeeds at what it sets out to do, and it's well worth a listen for Seabird enthusiasts who haven't given it a shot already. - Roger Gelwicks, 11/18/10

 

. Record Label: Credential Recordings
. Album length: 7 tracks: 24 minutes, 15 seconds
. Street Date: October 15, 2010
. Buy It: iTunes

  1. Angels We Have Heard On High (2:54)
  2. Go Tell It On the Mountain (2:55)
  3. What Child Is This? (3:08)
  4. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (3:31)
  5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (3:41)
  6. Joy to the World (4:18)
  7. Silent Night (3:50)

 

 

 

 

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This Friday, October 19
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Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
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Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
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