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reviews

This week: The Boy Castaways makes the leap from the stage to the screen and we have reviews of more Christmas albums than you can shake a Santa sack at.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK

BAD RELIGION Christmas Songs Epitaph/Warner The irony of a band so obviously opposed to religion finding beauty and energy in songs that are, by their nature, religious, is the strongest trick of Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs. An eight-track mini-album of hymns and seasonal classics, the pioneering punk band look to make each of these tracks their own – without irony – and succeed more often than not.

TRACK LISTING 1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

2. O Come All Ye Faithful

7. What Child Is This?

3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

8. Angels We Have Heard On High

4. White Christmas

9. American Jesus (Andy Wallace Mix)

5. Little Drummer Boy

The best renditions of these 19 minutes are the more ‘traditional’ tracks, those that aren’t weighed down by expectations built from overexposure. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is the best of the lot, this version being both tense and rousing. Vocalist Greg Graffin delivers the line, “Shall come to thee, O Israel” with such urgency, and almost desperation, that you’re looking for the new message behind it. It’s not there, this is a Christmas carol, but it feels like it could be. The bounding God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is another one they nail, but White Christmas and Little Drummer Boy add very little to the plethora of versions already in existence. More than the band’s delivery, the flaws are in the song themselves. Stripped down and built back up, there’s not enough pieces to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the others. Delivering each of the tracks in their own way – quickly and abrasively – there’s also something really alluring about hearing Graffin deliver lines from What Child Is This?: “This, this is Christ the King/Whom shepherds guard and angels sing”, earnestly. Scott Fitzsimons THE MUSIC • 11TH DECEMBER 2013 • 45

The Music (Sydney) Issue #18  

The Music is a free, weekly gloss magazine of newsstand quality. It features a diverse range of content including arts, culture, fashion, li...

The Music (Sydney) Issue #18  

The Music is a free, weekly gloss magazine of newsstand quality. It features a diverse range of content including arts, culture, fashion, li...