tue 25/04/2017

CD: Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas

CD: Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas

The band that's managed to make Christmas albums cool has done it again

It allows you to jam out to 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' whilst retaining an element of hipster chic
Wishing you a very beat-box Xmas

If Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” makes you want to burn the nearest decorated pine tree and Michael Buble’s Christmas croons give you the urge to shove brussel sprouts in your ears, Pentatonix’s new festive album could be the perfect antidote to Xmas crabbiness.

Known for their Christmas album of 2014 (in particular a hyper-hip version of The Nutcracker), this five-piece a capella group from Texas (Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola) offer up a few more festive songs with an unexpectedly cool twist. They sing in close harmony, combining retro-kitch and vocal gymnastics with a beat-box base laid underneath. 

One of the highlights is an upbeat, modernised take on Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah'

It’s a rich, unique sound of supportive chorals and a rocking dynamic that allows you to jam out to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” whilst retaining an element of hipster chic. Using only the voice as an adept instrument they have an African, rhythmic take on “O Come All Ye Faithful”, a smooth and mellow “White Christmas” with a swing beat, and a finger-clicking “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”.

As well as the covers of songs that conjure up the ghost of X Factor past - you can just imagine Louis saying, “You’ve really made that your own” - the group have penned two of their own original tracks. “The Christmas Sing-Along” is all about coming together for a celebration of laughter, joy and love and generally being “warm and fuzzy in your favourite sweater”, and “Good To Be Bad” is a fun, kitschy, “screw you, Santa!” kind of tune.

One of the album’s highlights is an upbeat, modernised take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (recently released on YouTube) with surging dynamics and a cascading melody. It’s counteracted by the pop upswing of “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” - a slightly nauseating finale that will make you as happy to put this album away for a year as it will be to find it again in 2017.

@Katiecolombus

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