Christmas always bring family and friends together. Apparently the same goes with bands. Just a few short years ago the gents from Smalltown Poets made their "final" curtain call but this year they've decided to come out of hibernation to spread some holiday cheer with a couple of Christmas ditties. But is this just another album to dismiss or welcome in warmly this Smalltown Poets Christmas?
Common traditional songs are throughout the album and sometimes outshine the originals. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" are extremely good tracks as they both keep the integrity of the songs intact while still receiving a modern treatment. It's nothing too complex but it's the simplicity that makes them standout. Songs like "O Come O Come Emmanuel," "In The Bleak Midwinter," and "Good Christian Men Rejoice" didn't take to the change very well. This may be due to the busyness of the songs; they are so musically busy that it distracts the listener from the lyrics. (Personal opinion: Christmas music without Christmas lyrics is just music.)
On a happier note, the instrumental tracks breaking up a couple of the songs are excellent. Sadly, they don't last long but their presence is much appreciated. As for the original Christmas songs from the Smalltown guys, it's hit and miss. "St. Nick is Alright" and "In the First Light" are beautifully written and truly are fun to sing along to. The music has the classic Christmas sound with piano and glockenspiel, and the words echo the whimsicalness of the season. On the other hand, "His Delight" lacks any seasonal feelings and sounds more like b-side from a Bill Gaither Homecoming.
While I wouldn't say that the album is amazing, it still has something to offer this holiday season. It might have faired better as an EP, since there are a number of songs that can be skipped over or forgotten, but it is what it is. Regardless, we should all feel honored that our friends in Smalltown Poets would once again join forces to give us something special this Christmas. And in response to that, we should definitely wish them a merry Christmas in return… or at least bring them some figgy pudding.- Review date: 10/31/11, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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