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Various Artists

Punk Rock Christmas 2

Review by Gary Hill

This collection of punk holiday tunes has some real gems. Not everything here is as successful, but nothing really falls flat. There is a range of types of punk here including Ramones styled numbers, old school punk and hardcore. All in all, this is a solid set. I do wonder if perhaps it might have been a bit stronger if a few of the songs had been left off, though. This does have quite a few tunes that are only on this CD edition, so perhaps that is a valid question.

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
Tsunami Bomb - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Starting with a little bit of music followed by an unusual phone call from Santa, this pounds out into a hard rocking version of the holiday classic. It's meaty and rather metallic. This is a great to start things in style.
The Rumjacks - Christmas In Killarney
This is powerhouse Irish punk stomper. It gets a parental advisory. This is so much fun. As much as I liked the opener, this is even better.
Naked Aggression - What We Buy
This is a screaming hot stomper. I love the guitar solo on the tune. The main riff that drives it is a killer tune.
The Members - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Here we get a cover of the John Lennon song. I like this one quite a bit, but it will never touch the original.
Pulley - O Holy Night
I love this raw and driving version of the holiday classic. This is fierce and fun.
Dave Smalley & The Bandoleros - Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
This stomper is another fun number. It gets a parental advisory.
MDC - (Merry Christmas) World’s On Fire
Hardcore is the order of business here. This is raw, fast paced and cool. It also gets a parental advisory.
The Queers - Ramones Christmas
This definitely feels like The Ramones. This is all class.
The Vibrators - Santa Had To Go Into Rehab
I dig the retro rock and roll edge to this stomper. This is another fun tune. It has a lot of driving energy to it.
Ship Thieves - Who Put The Gum In Santa’s Whiskers
Screaming out of the gate, this is another powerhouse stomper.
Amber Pacific - Merry Christmas Happy Holiday
Built on acoustic guitars, this is less punky and more mainstream rock than some of the other cuts. The vocal arrangement is great, and this brings some variety to the set.
Reagan Youth - Punk Rock Christmas
This has an acoustic based arrangement. The tune feels like something Guns N' Roses might do, but has a bit of a Kid Rock edge to it.  I have to say that guitar tuning on this bugs me quite a bit, but it's punk, right?
Down By Law - Merry Christmas (Feels So Right)
High energy and catchy punk rock, this is fun stuff. Then again, that applies to much of this.
Bankrupt - When Johnny Saved Christmas
I love the high energy punk that drives this number. It's a powerhouse that is also catchy. This is one of the highlights here.
Punchline - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
A rocking version of the classic holiday tune, this is not nearly as punk oriented as some of the rest. It's bouncy and entertaining.
Parasites - Father Christmas
Fast and furious, this is a screaming hot take on The Kinks classic. It's a bit raw and a lot of fun.
Unsteady Heights - Around Christmas
This is a killer tune that's hard edged and still catchy. The organ lends a cool retro edge. The song is another highlight of the set.
The Spears - Christmas Sucks (You Stupid F***s!)
A powerhouse screamer, this has plenty of hardcore and even hints of metal in the mix. As you might guess, it earns a parental advisory.
High Wire - Where Are You Christmas?
Starting a bit mellower, this works out into a raw and powerful stomper that has some metallic edges to it.
Splinter - Fairy Tales
Drums lead this out of the gate. The cut powers out into a smoking hot jam from there that makes me think of a hardcore version of Hawkwind's punkier stuff. This is one of my favorite songs here. It definitely has a space rock edge.
Walter Etc. - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
A mellower, acoustic based tune, this has some hints of jazz. It's not the punkiest thing here, but it works well.
Slap Of Reality - Last Christmas
This cover of the Wham! song is melodic, but still pretty fierce. It's less punk and more mainstream rock than a lot of the stuff here. That said, it still has some punk angst and energy. The song is quite strong.
Down And Outs - Merry Christmas Everybody
A powerhouse punk stomper, this is a strong tune. It's angry and a bit raw. While not a standout, it's a good entry in the set.
Chief State - All I Want For Christmas
Starting with keyboards and vocals, this fires out into more of a pure punk rock jam from there.
The Widows - Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas
Pounding punk is on the menu here. This is another powerhouse.
Johnny Thunders - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
A standard rock and roll groove is at the heart of this tune. The vocals sound quite chemically altered. This a fun and rather raunchy number.
 
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