Five Gears in Reverse, a staggeringly talented guitar pop aggregation that neither recalled the Elvis Costello song they usurped their namesake from, or for that matter were content to imbibe the trail of crumbs laid out by their hometown's boys done good, The Posies. In my article I mentioned that in addition to the Trailer cassette ep that I was featuring, I also had an original copy of a six-song Christmas tape that was released one year prior in 1997. Voila. I actually played Merry X-mas Distant Planet for the first time last week, and was pleased with what I heard for a variety of reasons: a) there were no overtly religious overtones in the lyrics, b) the songs were all original 5GR compositions, and c) the quality of said songs were worthy of sharing, even bragging about no less.
The title track serves as the opening salvo, and features a dialog concerning a parallel universe of sorts where the birthday of a Jesus-like figure (Zogen) is observed in much the same light that Christmas is celebrated on our own Terra firma. This silly little motif doesn't carry over into any of the subsequent tracks however, and that's perfectly alright with me considering that "On Every Christmas Day" harkens back to Teenage Fanclub's Big Star homage, circa 1992. Elsewhere, "Happy Birthday Jesus Christ" and "Underneath the Mistletoe" are squarely in league with their criminally overlooked contemporaries to the north, Zumpano. And once again, these are original songs, unlike She and Him's insipid plundering of moldy, done-to-death carols. Speaking of which, wtf is up with shit? As usual, I digress...
While I'm in the holiday frame of mind, remember that review I did of the Active Set's new album 11? Turns out they've penned a Yule-tune of their own, "Making Out (Is the Best Part of Christmas)" which is the kind of sentiment I could go for year round. Check it out via YouTube.
01. Merry X-mas Distant Planet
02. Happy Birthday Jesus Christ
03. Underneath the Mistletoe
04. On Every Christmas Day
05. Tannenbaum and Holly Leaves
06. Silver Sheets
Van Dyke Parks "Moonlighting" - Live at the Ash Grove 1998 - MOONLIGHTING is a collection of mostly new songs performed live.The live MOONLIGHTING celebrates Van Dyke Parks' 30 years of writing and arranging. The fin...
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