Thursday, December 21, 2017

Vista Blue - Christmas Sounds

Happy Winter Solstice! As far as I'm concerned, it's not really Christmas time until I've got the latest Vista Blue Christmas EP in heavy rotation. This year's version, Christmas Sounds, was no disappointment. Not even The Grinch could resist resist bobbing his head to these tunes! As always, it's a free download for anyone who'd like to enjoy it.

I usually have little interest in sad Christmas songs, but there are exceptions. "Anything But You", which leads off Christmas Sounds, is one of those exceptions. The bummer love song is one of the great staples of the pop-punk genre, and "Anything But You" is a bummer love song done to perfection. I appreciate a band that can take a song like this and make it sound genuinely heartbreaking as opposed to whiny. So kudos to Mike and Mark for a job well done. I think it's always important to show consideration for those who are not full of joy at Christmas time. Going in a completely different direction, "Gimme!" is a cover of the theme from A Garfield Christmas Special. It barely tops 30 seconds, and it's great silly fun. Now Vista Blue can say they've covered Lou Rawls! "Nobody Wants Booster" - an ode to that one toy no kid wants - brings to mind the oldies-inspired pop-punk of Vista Blue precursors The Loblaws. I've been whistling that melody non-stop since Thanksgiving night! Finally, "There's a Star" is a new version of a song by the band's pal Rusty Spell. Mike and his friends collaborate every year on a homemade Christmas compilation where everybody contributes a song. Spell wrote and recorded "There's a Star" for the compilation last year. Mike loved the song so much that he wanted to do his own version for Christmas Sounds. It's really a wonderful way to close out the EP. I like that the song is simple, yet very pretty. Vista Blue gives it the full treatment with buzzing guitars and beautifully-arranged harmonies. All in all, I really dig the way this song and "Anything But You" bookend the EP's more lighthearted middle tracks.

The rigors of this academic year have caused me to fall way behind in my coverage of the forever prolific Vista Blue. I missed the band's latest Halloween EP along with the vinyl release of the Seasons album, a split with Grim Deeds, and the digital release of the band's curling themed collaboration with The Zambonis. I hope to do a better job of keeping up in 2018! For now, you should seek out Christmas Sounds if you're a fan of Vista Blue and/or Christmas music. 


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