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Zest Of YorePop 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 of production - the album was clearly recorded and manufactured on a tight budget. At their very best - on, say, "Brandish Your Uniform" - the Zest boys 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 the studio.

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 Stephen Pierce's naif-like 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 Moon (2004). Louder, more electric, and noticeably less relaxed, this second edition is decidedly improved, though the lackadaisical original retains its own druggy charms.

Albums Albums


  • Admit That It's Christmas (You've Got To) (2003)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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