In many ways The Holidays are bleak in 2011 and the Hot Buttered Elves dig deeply into that vein with their new release Coal. Trudging as lightheartedly through sooty caverns of sound as dim lanterns will allow, their new CD/Digital release sheds a strange and wonderful light on some of the most perplexing traditions of our time.
Coal is The Hot Buttered Elves' sixth full length CD/Digital release. Even after 18 years of making some of the funniest and darkest Christmas music you're ever likely to hear the Elves still bring fresh perspectives on old traditions.
Given the tough times, the album respectfully opens with Ingots of Bing / Smelting Burl Ives a 'two-halves-for-the-price-of-one' deal that recalls a time when Christmas was simpler and easier to understand and then imagines a way to spread more joy than ever.
Broke for Christmas: no explanation needed for far too many this season. Christmas is for Everyone*: make sure to read the disclaimer when you stop bobbing your head and singing along to this one.
In shades of bluegrass The Ex back in Xmas celebrates the morning after a memorable Christmas (mistake?). Ancient Santa tells of a epic battle between two Santas while the two Hulk related numbers sleuth through a tale of intrigue and green skin.
Reverse Santa is an old time blues take on yet another disturbing Santa character. The title track Coal, a 10+ minute mini-rock-opera in seven parts tells the story of one of Santa's lesser known (and even less liked) helpers.
Holly Go Heavily is 80's, baby, 80's! And the humbly titled A Christmas Song is a timeless number with a wall of sound to boot.
Closing things out Day 359 may very well be the most devastating Christmas song on record. But the final track The Happiest Noël is another toe tapper guaranteed to get you back in the mood to celebrate and give the whole thing another spin.
This is one album you'll always come back to even as the seasonal parties are finally over as you savor your last cup of nog and / or grog of the season.