Thursday, December 16, 2010

CD Review: Various Artists - A Kool Kat Kristmas

This 2010 compilation from Kool Kat Musik gathers a number of the label’s artists for a holiday party to honor the late Susan Giblin, a veterinary technician and avid animal rights advocate. A portion from the proceeds will benefit the Giblin Foundation for Animal Wellness and Welfare.

“Christmas Time In The City” by Maple Mars depicts a California-based musician looking forward to a holiday reunion with a loved one in his old home state of Connecticut. It’s a mid-tempo track with a fetching melody, but the big guitar-driven production definitely qualifies this as power pop, ala The Smithereens. Parallax Project also goes the high energy route with its love song “All I Want For Christmas (Is A Chance)” while The Smith Brothers and William Duke try a lighter but still catchy approach on “Every Day Is Like Christmas” and “Say Hello To Christmas,” respectively.

On Keith LuBrant’s “The Christmas Spirit,” a frantic arrangement underscores his advice to take the time to appreciate the season no matter how hectic things get. The fast and funny “The Christmas Gifts” is delivered from the viewpoint of kid ransacking the house in search of his presents a good month before the big day arrives. The Sun Kings’ easy-going “Santa’s Calling” has an Abbey Road vibe, and on “Christmas Is Fun,” Frank Royster weaves a tapestry of chimes, keyboards, and layered vocals. The Britannicas’ “Chris Hillman Christmas” should delight fans of The Byrds as it salutes the band’s guitarist with a Country & Western arrangement brimming with ringing guitars, close-knit harmonies, and a few inside jokes.

John Wicks creates a prog-rock hymn with sacred imagery and keyboards on his ornate ballad “Star Of Bethlehem.” The Goldbergs have fun on the catchy “Channukah Guy” but there’s also an underlying religious tone as the title character enjoys the traditions and giving spirit of Christmas while still observing his own Jewish faith. Kool Kat Kristmas offers good vibes and plenty of hooks while raising funds for a worthwhile cause.

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