Various Artists

Electric Ornaments: An Idol Records Christmas Collection (Idol records)

There's not much need for Christmas discs once you own A Charlie Brown Christmas and...aw, heck, that's about it as far as this Hanukkah Harry's concerned. But this collection of local artists doing the jingle-bell rock contains a version of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here" worth owning--a peppy, sparkly rendition courtesy of Chomsky; they retrieve the song from the pop nostalgia bin and give it a right new-wave shine. But Chomsky's not the only band bearing gifts: Vibrolux vamps through "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (begging the question, once more: Where's Kim Pendleton's album of jazz standards?), [DARYL] punches up Paul McCartney's "A Wonderful Christmas Time," Pinkston punches out the Kinks' "Father Christmas," the Mag Seven slam "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," Regina Chellew and CHAO! turn the opening of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" into something "Just Fine," while the Falcon Project exhales a rather, ah, dope "Little Drum N' Bass Boy." All I want for Christmas is a bong.

Electric Ornaments is the gift that keeps on giving: Almost half of the 18 cuts are originals, the best of which come from Centro-matic ("Fuselage (It's Starting to Look Like Christmas Once Again)"), the Deathray Davies ("I Got Coal"), Adventures of Jet ("Waiting for Christmas"), and Pleasant Grove ("Five Minutes of Snow")--all songs that sound about as Christmas as July. (Actually, the Centro-matic and Pleasant Grove tracks are the soundtracks to holiday suicides; "Silent Night" starts to sound giddy by comparison.) And it's nice to see the Hebrews getting in on the action; Marc Solomon and Clumsy contribute "Roamin' Holiday," and not since Barbra Streisand's holiday albums have the Jews given so much at this time of year.

 
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