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CONTRIBUTORS
MxPx
Sixpence None the Richer
All Star United
Plankeye
Hangnail
Joy Electric
Flight 180
Starflyer 59
Viva Voce
The Normals
Fanmail
Norway
Element 101
Deluxtone Rockets
House of Wires
Lost Dogs

REVIEW
Happy Christmas Vol. 2 - Click to view! HAPPY CHRISTMAS VOL. 2 (1999)
This sixteen track collaborative features nearly all the bright artists of Volume One recast in a resplendent Christmas play, along with some new faces. To start this second helping of Happy Christmas, smashing rockers MxPx present "Christmas Day," a fast-paced punk-styled single attacking the Scrooge mentality. "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" continues Volume One's knack for perfect covers, Sixpence combining all the incoherent intellect of Seuss with their equally diverse mix of strings and electric. Purposefully smiley, All Star United has as much fun as usual with "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday." New verses added to "Let Us Adore Him" give Plankeye dynamic on "Jesu Bambino." Fooling with distortion and time signature, new act Hangnail supercharges "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Antithetical to the guitar/bass/drums setup, electricians Joy Electric lead the "Lollipop Parade" with a mysterious computer-generated originality. Eight-piece ska group Flight 180 jazz up "O Come All Ye Faithful," while Starflyer 59 transform a carol usually associated with Sesame Street's Christmas Eve and Home Alone into a rich meditation of what truly matters with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." Track 10, "Peace Child," gleams with The Normals acoustic brilliance - it's one of many cuts proving Volume 2's superiority over the first installment (in terms of originals). Laugh again at the premise and perspective of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" as Fanmail spins a killer solo and a sixties outro for effect. Norway turns in a dud with "White Christmas," a pitiful detraction from Bing Crosby. Thankfully, female-fronted Element ameliorate the project with "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," which gratulates the season "in the new old fashioned way." The hokey rockabilly of Deluxetone Rockets make you wonder if Elvis is still alive...and working as a trucker. "The Chipmunk Song" is an impromptu, talk-over track that follows the Lost Dogs through the dilemma of laying down the tracks for this cut, with hilarious dialogue and repeating gags. All said, the strengths of Happy Christmas Volume 2 far outweigh any weaknesses--the rock fortitude seeing past sentimentality to the unconditional love and relationships that the holidays stand for.
- Josh M. Shepherd
December 1999
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