Squirrel Nut Zippers

Christmas Caravan

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AllMusic Review by

Since they were riding high on the strength of Hot, the Squirrel Nut Zippers convinced Mammoth to release a holiday album, Christmas Caravan, just months after they delivered Perennial Favorites, their follow-up to Hot. It was an unconventional move, but the Zippers were never about convention, and, appropriately, Christmas Caravan isn't a conventional holiday record. Relying heavily on original material, the crew has created the Christmas equivalent of one of their studio releases -- an album that revives swing and hot jazz, tweaking it a little bit with ironic humor yet remaining reverential of the music's heritage. If anything, they take fewer liberties on Christmas Caravan than before -- there aren't as many jokes and the music sounds surprisingly restrained at places. Still, the Zippers know how to have a good time, and that's exactly what Christmas Caravan does, thanks to their enthusiastic performances, strong songwriting and sharp covers ("Winter Weather," "Sleigh Ride").

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