Saturday, November 22, 2008

Project 86: This Time of the Year

I know I mentioned previously that Project 86 had a new Christmas EP coming out, but I wanted to take some time and remind you all that it is coming out! The release date is Nov 25th, but a copy fell into my hot little hands yesterday and I just got around to listening to it this morning, and it is FANTASTIC!

Anybody who knows me knows I like a wide variety of entertainment. While some people may just focus on one genre of movies, or one genre of TV, or even one genre of music, I like a wide variety in my life. When people see I own movies like foreign art films, David Lynch, some more "high brow" type movies then I go out and buy a copy of "Dude, Where's My Car?" they tell me I'm hard to figure out.

That is the way I am with my music. The same day I got this new Project 86 EP I also received my copy of Kristin Chenoweth's new Christmas CD A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas. I am willing to bet dollars and donuts that most people wouldn't buy these two CDs together. In fact, the CDs lists as frequently bought with Kristin's CD are NOT hard rock Christmas CDs. Imagine that.

Maybe you are one of those folks who likes a wide variety of Christmas music. Or maybe you just want some good Christmas ROCK music this year to add to your stocking. If you are one of those then by all means make it a point to pick up Project 86's This Time of the Year this year.

The music on the entire EP is just as incredible as the title track, which I shared on here last year. This was one of my My Space finds last year, and I offered up the title track on my My Space collection as well. I guarantee I am NOT going to be posting MP3s from this EP any time soon. There are sites selling the MP3s, so you can find samples online, but the style of the songs are consistent through out.

My first impressions on the other tracks:

2) Wrought on this Holiday Eve: You know when you get a CD and the track that the band released to hook you in was really good and then you find the other tracks on the CD just are not that good? That is SO not the case here. Busting out of the gate, bursting through the doors, breaking down any disappointments that might have been after the fantastic title track, this song comes in with both barrels firing, blazing a fresh and new path of Christmas music. It's a song about an "other reindeer," this time Dasher. And who knew a song about Dasher could be so incredibly cool.

3) Shiny Skin: You can hear this song on their My Space page. A rocking tune, but I am not hearing the Christmas references in this song on the first listen. A great song, but I have to say not quite as impressive as the first two. That's OK...I don't dig every track even on my most favorite CDs.

4) Misfit Toys: Any thoughts that this EP was running out of steam after the first two powerhouse songs are dispelled when this comes around on the CD. Just as rocking as the previous tracks, this song manages to create another great Christmas original that I know will be in rotation in my personal MP3 collection.

5) What Child?: Well, I guess you had to have a familiar Christmas song on the EP. I know from putting my own compilation together that there seems to be a consensus among folks that if you don't have some familiar titles of songs on your CD, people won't want to buy it. I don't that true? I think this CD would have sold just as well without this track, and perhaps even with another great rocking track of original music. But this is what it is: a cover version of What Child is This. Rather obligatory, and instrumental at that. While they incorporate elements of their style into the song, for this hardened Christmas music vet, I have to say this is my least favorite track on the disc. Sorry, guys, but this won't be ripped to my MP3 library. Cool track, but not essential.

I also wanted to add that the title track sounds INCREDIBLE on this CD. I would highly recommend getting the CD over a digital download, as the MP3 of the same song from last year shows the limitations of the MP3 format. You can really hear the remarkable difference in the music from the MP3 released last year to the track on the CD. I don't know if they remastered it, or if hearing it in uncompressed audio made that much of a difference, but if the difference from MP3 to uncompressed CD is that remarkable, then by all means I suggest the CD over a digital download.

So, I guess in light of that, I would give this CD a solid FOUR out of FIVE stars. The tracks that deliver deliver great. I think "Shiny Skin" kind of distracts from the rest of the CD, but is a good track on it's own. However, ending the CD with a instrumental cover version took a star away from the review.

In the end, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Buy yours today!

There is no CD booklet, no liner notes, no lyrics. The CD cover is clear with a sticker of the cover art on the clear plastic. The art is a line image that allows you to see the CD underneath. The image of the Santa with the screaming children reminds me of my "Last Christmas Record for Children" cover!

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