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").
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine