Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets! by Los Straitjackets (Christmas surf rock)

This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on The Green Man Review. Copyright 2003. Reprinted with permission.

I know you. You may think I don't, but I can prove it.

You've been looking all over for it. You may not have known it, but you were. What is it, you ask? You know, but I'll put it into words for you: An instrumental Christmas album with a surf-rock feel.

And now your secret prayers have been answered by Los Straitjackets. 'Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets! is exactly what you've been seeking. Ten traditional Christmas tunes (and three originals, but you'll think you recognize them, anyway) performed in the style of the Ventures, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and the Centurions by four men in Mexican wrestling masks. Classic surf rock entwined with holiday festivities. Christmas music to play at the beach.

I mean, where else but on 'Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets! can you get a version of Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" introduced by the opening to Ritchie Valens's "La Bamba," or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" sounding like "Tequila" by the Champs, or "Frosty the Snowman" opened with the drum line from Glenn Miller's "Sing! Sing! Sing!," or "The Little Drummer Boy" where the bass shares the melody with a jangly guitar, or any of the other innovative additions Los Straitjackets have given their interpretations of these beloved songs?

From the beginning riffs of "Here Comes Santa Claus" to the final cymbal clash of a surprisingly mellow rendition of "The Christmas Song," 'Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets! is the ideal Christmas album. Oh, it's a novelty, to be sure, but one that will fit in wonderfully with the more traditional holiday albums in your collection.

You see, I do know you. I know you can't wait to get your hands on this masterpiece of mixed genres called 'Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets!. This festive bit of fun from four Nashvilleans with a faux Spanish moniker.

In fact, you're already tapping your mistletoes in expectation....


Anonymous said...

I ran across your review for one of Kimya Dawson's album. The review was nearly as delightful as I knwo her works to be so I followed your tracks through Amazon and then to this site. Work constraints have caused me to limit my literary consumption, but music is my great release and I wander far and wide. For a serendipitous find, may I suggest James McMurtry. I recently happened upon Just Us Kids and it is a delight. Hope you enjoy it. And maybe we'll go about figuring where we might find some common ground. or not.

Craig Clarke said...

Thanks for the kind words and for your interest in my reviews. I've been meaning to try McMurtry for a while. Thanks for reminding me.

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