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geeks from Denton, Texas Zest
Of Yore sound like nothing so much as Matthew Sweet after downing a hefty
handful of quaaludes. The songs on Admit
That It's Christmas (You've Got To) (2003), the group's dyslexically-titled debut EP, wander aimlessly in the vicinity
of catchy and tuneful without quite ever arriving - too twee, mournful, and
self-conscious for their own good. Granted, this could
reflect a mere lack
- the album
clearly recorded and manufactured on a tight budget.
At their very best - on, say, "Brandish Your Uniform" - the Zest
resemble Seattle's sainted Posies, and I can't help but wonder what this record
would have sounded like had more resources (or experience) been available in
Nevertheless, a band goes to battle with the album it made, and Admit
That It's Christmas sounds like a glorified demo tape. So, why are we
here? Well, the title song - the only Christmas song herein - is really
pretty spiffy. True, it suffers from the same lack of polish and energy that
torpedoes the rest of the record. But, the understated production and singer/songwriter
vocals serve the song (and the season) well. The band's sly sense of humor
- sneaking in a line about "dangling our balls" - doesn't hurt, either.
Like so many homemade records, Admit
That It's Christmas will soon be forgotten. My hope is that an astute
label will anthologize the title track in a more appropriate context
- something like Black Vinyl's Yuletunes,
for instance - lending it a bit of immortality as a minor classic. Interestingly,
the band cut an entirely new version of the song for it's first full-length album, Throw It At The
Louder, more electric, and noticeably less relaxed, this second edition is decidedly
improved, though the lackadaisical original retains its own druggy charms.
- Admit That It's Christmas
(You've Got To) (2003)
- Admit That It's Christmas (You've Got To) (new version, 2004)
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