Dan Kibler, Bottle Kids + others – A Kool Kat Kristmas, Volume Two (2014)

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The season of giving is upon us, and not only is A Kool Kat Kristmas, Volume Two” packed to the pores with great songs, but a portion of the profits benefit the Susan Giblin Foundation for Animal Wellness and Awareness, based in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

Opening the show are the Pencils, whose “Christmas Is Coming Again” boasts regal Phil Spector-styled production techniques pinned tightly against a halo of twinkling Beach Boys harmonies and a bluesy pop guitar solo paying noticeable tribute to George Harrison. The spirit of the Beach Boys continues to flex its pecs on the chirpy “Snowbirds” by the Honeymoon Stallions, and Dan Kibler’s “Winter Sun” sports a tone that is alternately stark and progressive, aided by panoramic textures and choral arrangements.

Despite its solemn title, the Split Squad’s “Another Lonely Christmas” sparkles and gallops to a happy power pop vibe, while “You Always Come Back Home” from the Genuine Fakes checks in as an exhilarating mid-tempo ballad. Sketched of an economic shuffle recalling the vaudeville dance hall fixations of the Kinks and the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Connection’s “Poor Boy” may mope about lack of cash and comfort, with the poverty-stricken narrator not able to afford gifts and dining on water and Spam for Christmas, but he states he is nonetheless rich because he has rock and roll. Amen to that!

Shake Some Action’s catchy and jangly “Christmas In The Sun” registers as another mistletoe marvel, and from the Tor Guides there’s the sweet and glistening pop of “Beatles Vinyl,” which is a letter to Santa, requesting naturally records by the band we all know and cherish. Martin Newell’s “Ghost Of Christmas,” “Christmas In Paris” by the Bottle Kids featuring Captain Storm, Wyatt Funderburk’s “Cold,” Stephen Lawrenson’s “Glad It’s Christmas,” and Sonata Form’s “Kurtis and Bert” are further excellent songs included on the collection.

Thirteen tracks total, and each one is a shining star. Even those who don’t celebrate the holiday will be moved by the sounds of A Kool Kat Kristmas, Volume Two simply because the songs are so melodic and memorable. Kool Kat Musik has a reputation for releasing nothing but world-class pop rock, and this record certainly validates their worth and of course the good folks kind enough to contribute their time and talents to the project.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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