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43 of 47 found the following review helpful:
WOW !!! Nov 03, 2009
By Matthew G. Sherwin
Straight No Chaser's latest holiday album is full of brand new recordings by this group and it's all about Christmas. Indeed, this is going to be a terrific stocking stuffer this year! Everything about the track set is brand new except that we get the album version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" instead of a live recording of "The 12 Days of Christmas" that was on their album entitled "Holiday Spirits." Moreover, Straight No Chaser sound wonderful; I could listen to this CD every day and never tire of it! They are exceptionally gifted performers. The quality of the sound is very good and the artwork is excellent, too.
"The Christmas Can-Can" starts the album with a fun tune that has Straight No Chaser squarely in the spotlight and I love the way they do this one to perfection! Great! "We Three Kings" is very well done; and the members of Straight No Chaser handle the tempo and key changes like pros. Other very good numbers include "Christmastime Is Here" which I first heard in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" television special; and "Let It Snow" charms me with its natural beauty. Listen also for "Dónde Está Santa Claus" which adds a lot of mirth to the album and the incredible "I'll Be Home for Christmas" which was my mother's favorite Christmastime song. There are also outstanding renditions of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "O Holy Night" while "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" gets a particularly creative arrangement to let Straight No Chaser put their own stamp on this classic holiday ballad. "The 12 Days of Christmas" is also extremely well done to the theme of "Africa" which was recorded by Toto.
But Straight No Chaser adds even a few more fun, secular tunes to add a special kick to this CD. I really like that electric "Hey Santa;" "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch;" and "Who Spiked the Eggnog?" Excellent!
Straight No Chaser fans will love this holiday album; and this is absolutely perfect for anyone who enjoys a mixture of classic holiday music with songs that are more secular but every bit as special. I highly recommend this fine album.
24 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Another excellent SNC Offering Nov 04, 2009
By Tracy Vest
Straight No Chaser is hands down one of the most entertaining groups to come along in years. And the fact that they were "rediscovered" decades after first performing makes their trek all the more amazing. Last year they released their first official CD Holiday Spirits which soon soared to the top of the charts. Their latest release, "Christmas Cheers," comes on the heels of the excellent EP Six Pack [Amazon Exclusive]. The songs are a mix of timeless classics and entertaining comical songs mixed with original material. They are definitely the holiday go-to guys.
Kicking off with the peppy "Christmas Can-Can" which includes original lyrics featuring melodies from several traditional holiday songs (as well as the "Can-Can" from "Orpheus in the Underground"); in an arrangement only they could come up with. Other stand out songs include "We Three Kings" which is performed to the melody of "Mission Impossible," the fantastic Vince Guaraldi tune "Christmastime is Here," the always pleasing "I'll be Home for Christmas," a funky version of "Let it Snow" listeners won't recognize, and a great version of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" which allows the bass singers to finally sing... lyrics. The album concludes with a studio version of "12 Days of Christmas," a medley of numerous songs and garbling of the lyrics - and the song that made them famous. It is a nice crisp alternative to the live version released last year.
Fans of the a cappella group will not be disappointed. And it doesn't have to be the holiday season to enjoy the songs. And if you are fortunate enough to see them live, you will be amazed - they sound exactly like they do on their CD's, with the added bonus of their interactions with the audience and each other.
14 of 15 found the following review helpful:
A Cappella Harmonies Splashed With Christmas Fun Nov 23, 2009
Straight No Chaser is an acapella group from Indiana University. This 10 man group was founded in 1996. Their video clip of "The 12 Days of Christmas," posted by a group alum, became a YouTube phenomena in 2007. It was the best.
Christmas Cheer is the second Christmas collection. The 21 songs in this CD are a mix of straight and fun. The subdued 'Holy Night', 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and Christmas Time Is Here. The CD gets off to a rollicking start with 'Christmas Can-Can'" a hot 'We Three Kings', a brilliant parody of 'Donde Esta Santa Claus', a wonderful 'Hey, Santa', a sleazy 'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch', a priceless Elvis lead on 'Santa Claus is Back in Town', a crazy 'Jingle Bells', a drunken 'Who Spiked the Eggnog'. And, this all leads into the song that started it all. 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Each song has unexpected surprises. The arrangements are entertaining. And the CD has 5 extras, not necessarily Christmas songs but fun never the less. Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab' was never sung better. Jack Johnson's rollicking 'I'm Yours' and 'Over the Rainbow'. To the divine 'Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You'. This is a Christmas CD for everyone, the young will love the fun songs and the traditional songs are there for everyone. A Capella brings tone and a myriad of sounds to music- this grou[ of ten men has set the music world on its ear, let's listen!
This CD demonstrates the group's talents and skills and marvelous voices. They blend and meander and finally come in to their own. CHEERS!
Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-22-09
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Boy Band, Male Choral Group, Doo-Wop or Jazzy? Who are these guys? Dec 02, 2009
By M. Hill
For many of us, our first exposure to Straight No Chaser (SNC) was with their inventive a cappella rendition of the classic carol The Twelve Days of Christmas. There is something delightfully playful about that arrangement. It leads the listener through familiar territory while on an unfamiliar path. Where were they taking us next? Their talent is clear, their voices are pure and their sound meshes beautifully together.
This latest CD features mostly traditional carols done in a generally recognizable way. The flights of fancy are more grounded than soaring. Even with that observation, this is a simply terrific CD with some subtle touches I appreciated. Other reviewers have noted obvious musical style influences in some of the songs. What is most impressive is how deftly SNC handle any style - they really can sing. Below is a brief synopsis of each song. Note that when I use the term "boy band" to describe the style they've selected for a particular song, I intend nothing but respect because when they perform that style, they do it better than almost anyone.
Christmas Can Can - High energy novelty song - cute and borderline annoying.
We Three Kings - Starts with the intro to the Mission Impossible theme song, which, of course, given the Three Kings task, is quite clever. The rest of the song is otherwise traditional.
Christmastime Is Here (Charlie Brown Christmas) - Uses the opening bars from the O' Christmas Tree carol. The song itself is otherwise a straight rendition with the style being a male chorale group.
Let It Snow - R & B treatment of the song with a creative arrangement that is quite unique. The lyrics remain as written.
Donde Esta Santa Claus - Song is effectively performed in a 50's Doo Wop style.
I'll Be Home for Christmas - Beautiful "boy band" harmonies. They moved the song introduction to the middle to great effect. It actually was much more moving re-positioned.
Hey Santa! - Manhattan Transfer style with great energy.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Done in a jazzy style with some altered lyrics.
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch - Interesting sound from the Bass members of the group with a "boy band" sound. Traditional lyrics used.
Oh Holy Night - the style used is the one that defines them - a male a cappella chorale group. This is a very traditional and also a very beautiful rendition.
Santa Claus is Back in Town - is an impressive imitation of Elvis' classic version with some additional lyrics.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Definitely has a Manhattan Transfer feel to it, and the opening howling wind sound effect is quite ethereal.
Jingle Bells - SNC's choral ability shines in this song, a tune that has been done so many times it is impressive that they managed a fresh arrangement and some new lyrics.
Who Spiked the Egg Nog - Jazzy style and the song is surprisingly sophisticated.
The Twelve Days of Christmas - Studio version of the version on the first CD. It is fun to have another version of the song.
They have not duplicated the magic of The Twelve Days of Christmas and perhaps it isn't necessary. I enjoyed this CD very much and would highly recommend it to all who like male a cappella music and aren't offended or annoyed by a slight twist on tradition. This is not a CD to listen to when cuddling by the fire, it is too high energy. It is better suited for a party or when the listener needs a second wind to finish up gift wrapping or cookie baking.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
THE BEST ACAPELLA GROUP IN THE WORLD!!! Jun 28, 2011
By Martha A. Clarke
These guys are the absolute best!! They are all I listened to at Christmas, and all I listen to now!! They can do it all, serious pieces and comedy, ALL with lovely complex harmonies and mature, full range voices. The HIGHS and the LOWS are incredible!!!
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