VARIOUS ARTISTS – Punk Rock Christmas 2

Cleopatra 2019

Pinning down the season, aggro-ridden mob let it loose and get down with it.

VARIOUS ARTISTS –
Punk Rock Christmas 2

Yuletide is the time of silliness, and who’s better to tackle the holiday’s ludicrous aspects than artists whose usual modus operandi has always been “fuck off”? First tried in 2015 with apparent success, this formula works just fine here, in the mosh pit where veterans and latter-day arrivals – some of them coming back into the fray from the series’ inaugural volume – unleash unexpected variety, an important ingredient for the 26-number album, on the listener by sprinkling classic and original material with a quite required sneer. Which is why the straightfaced reading of old chestnuts, such as “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” from THE MEMBERS, doesn’t impress as much as “Christmas Sucks (You Stupid fs!)” by THE SPEARS, so although stylistic links feel rather tenuous sometimes, it’s the careless attutude that matters.

While there’s nothing genre-specific about acoustic ballads like REAGAN YOUTH-delivered title track or “Merry Christmas Happy Holiday” by AMBER PACIFIC – sentimental enough to cause nausea – TSUNAMI BOMB’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” proposes a poisoned poise between tense chords and taut electronica to pose a threat instead of anticipation, and PULLEY’s “O Holy Night” offer a thick veil of riffs to create a frenetic sort of solemnity. Even more hectic is the stampede behind “(Merry Christmas) World’s On Fire” by MDC, whereas THE QUEERS’ “Ramones Christmas” is supposed to be the pinnacle of punk’s seasonal merriment, but NAKED AGGRESSION’s “What We Buy” – a perfect reflection of the metal fatigue on Boxing Day – nails it better, with the dignified reserve of “Santa Had To Go Into Rehab” from THE VIBRATORS giving it the best buzz on display.

The covers of “Last Christmas” by SLAP OF REALITY and “Merry Christmas Everybody” by DOWN AND OUTS may add a nice spin to familiar fodder, yet THE RUMJACKS’ sharpening of the Celtic edge on “Christmas In Killarney” is no less infectious, and BANKRUPT’s “When Johnny Saved Christmas” is just as catchy, channelling the air of Johnny Thunders’s inebriated take on “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” that closes this collection. Not essential, if funny, the second instalment of “Punk Rock Christmas” will surely spice up a dinner with your folks.

***3/4

December 2, 2019

Category(s): Reviews
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