It's Christmas in July‚?¶sort of.
The Jingle Punx are back yet again to inject some holiday cheer into your stereo all through the year. For those who liked the band's last effort, you can rest happily assured that not much is changed. They still play solid mid-tempo punk, and put their very own spin on yuletide classics like the rousing "Joy to the World," and you can tell immediately they're nothing short of serious about it.
It's an interesting gimmick, but once you get past that aspect of it, it's easy to enjoy the fact that some of the songs really do have a great energetic kick to them. While you may not have ever imagined "Joy to the World" with a slick guitar solo in the middle, the Jingle Punx have, and they brought it to fruition. Even weirder is that it fits right in between the rousing choruses to flesh out the song in a way I've never heard it before. "Up on the Housetop" follows a similar formula: adding some slick guitar wizardry to this well-known classic, and they speed the pace of it up quite a bit as well. It's in essence the very same song most children grew up singing, but the added wrinkles thrown in actually give it a life beyond the time that kids stop believing in ol' Kris Kringle.
The other 10 tracks on the record are very Christmas-oriented, but many of the classics were already covered on their last record. Still, many are solid punk rock songs with Christmas-themed lyrics. It works with the very brief "Mistletoe and Holly," but not so well with the title track and a few others. Blame doesn't so much rest on the lyrical content either; it was pretty obvious that was going to be completely nonsensical from the get-go, but songs like "It's What I Got..." don't provide the same kick, or the same amount of vigor as many of the others.
And without energy, the oft-childish lyrics are a lot more noticeable than when the track is fast and enjoyable.
Jingle Punx had a bit tougher of a go-round this time, and numerous unfortunate instances appeared where their energy just fell completely and totally flat. I know they've got it; I know they possess that undying Christmas spirit, and some if it comes across here, but the rest is stuck in the North Pole.
Yeah, I just ended a review with a corny Santa joke. That happened.