I am apparently ahead of and behind the times when it comes to Straight No Chaser. About 10 years ago I used to regularly attend concerts by Amazin' Blue, one of University of Michigan's co-ed acapella groups. At one of their concerts they had special guest Straight No Chaser, who (clearly) made something of an impact on me (and I guess, on at least one band member!). At the time they were still based out of Indiana University. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing through Schuler's a few weeks ago and caught their album out of the corner of my eye. These days they're signed with Atlantic Records and their album Christmas Cheers is in regular rotation on my CD player lately. And I guess I'm late since their "12 Days of Christmas" was top in the Christmas pop charts last year.
I like this CD for the same reason I liked (and still do) Amazin' Blue - the collegiate acapella community arranges their own songs for their own enjoyment and frequently inserts musical jokes and references for their own amusement. You need to look no further than the first track for an example, "The Christmas Can-Can," a fun and funny parody of the song everyone knows. I especially like their version of "We Three Kings," a personal favorite carol of mine, which starts with the Mission Impossible theme and in the middle makes a nod to a Carribean beat.
Their sound is a bit more polished than I like, probably having to do with the post-production on the music, and the tone leans more towards easy listening than I would typically choose, but you can't help but get up and groove to "Hey Santa!" and "Who Spiked the Eggnog?" My sister-in-law loves "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and I have to admit, I do have a weakness for a good bass.
If you're looking for a little tongue-in-cheek fun this holiday season, I highly recommend this CD.