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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Barnes & Barnes

Holidaze In Lumania

Review by Gary Hill

While this isn't precisely a tight fit under progressive rock, it is definitely "art" rock, in more ways than one. Comparisons to both Frank Zappa and The Residents are both valid, and I consider both of them to be prog artists. Barnes and Barnes are said to be brothers Art Barnes and Artie Barnes, but in fact are Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer. Here they have produced an album of holiday oddities that is definitely worthy of what is expected of them. It's strange, but also a lot of fun.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Christmas in Lumania
This comes in with weird textures. It's sort of a Frank Zappa meets folk arrangement. I can make out hints of The Residents here for certain, too. This is weird and fun. I guess one could say "weirdly fun."
Down by Candy Cane Lane
This is even more Zappa-like. It's bouncy and trippy and so cool.
Horny at the Holidays
While the same elements as the previous numbers are still built into this, the cut is very much a hip hop styled song. It's fun, goofy and rannchy.
Hanukkah at our House
Bouncy, goofy and fun, this has a folk rock meets weird approach.
Kwanzaa’s Here Again
This has an almost Hawaiian vibe to it. There is some mellow jazz texture here. It's strange, but also entertaining.
Why Mommy, Why Do You Cry?
Imagine taking Alice Cooper and merging that sound with The Residents and electronic music. You'd probably have something very close to this. The track is not one of my favorites here, but it has its charms.
Santa’s Gone on Strike
Frank Zappa meets a ukulele arrangement here.
It’s Christmas Time and I Am Not with You
A bit more mainstream than some of the rest, this is still Barnes and Barnes, so don't expect something you'd hear on pop radio.
Jesus is Groovy
Goofy and fun, this combines a hippie folk sort of vibe with some strange electronics. It's all twisted with the kind of strangeness you expect from Barnes and Barnes.
I’ve Got Some Presents for Santa
Jazzy guitar brings this into being. This is raunchy and tastefully odd. 
The Angel of Death is Near
Not a big change stylistically, this has more of a pure holiday music vibe added to the mix. Yet, the lyrics are suitably dark. The Residents are valid reference here for sure.
I Am a Flying Reindeer
This is more of a rocking tune. It is one of the most accessible cuts here. This is far from mainstream, though. I would consider both the Residents and Zappa's music to share ground with this.
Christmas is Coming Better Start Running
One of the most decidedly proggy pieces here, this has the most dynamic arrangement of the disc. It's just as strange and dark as you would expect.
Santa Claus is a Martian
Another bit of proggy weirdness, this is a fun tune.
Silent Night, Holy Newt
Using the melody of "Silent Night," they twist as you would expect them to. It's one of my favorite tracks here.
 
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