V/A: Season’s Greetings from PAS/CAL and Asobi Seksu (Romantic Air Recording Company, 2004)
“Dear Lord, the season of Christmas is at our throats…” prays Archie Bunker in a classic All in the Family, episode and indeed, the season of irate motorists, long line-ups at the post office, and weight gain from Christmas treats is upon us. Fortunately, Christmas brings with it some good benefits in addition to the gaudy plastic reindeer decorations on my neighbour’s lawn, and this Christmas is no exception. Hot on the heels of their fantastic EP, Oh Honey, We’re Ridiculous, Mo-town popsters PAS/CAL have just released a Christmas treat with their limited edition split 12” Christmas vinyl on their very own label Romantic Air. Entitled Season’s Greetings from PAS/CAL and Asobi Seksu, this project sees PAS/CAL joining forces with respected shoegaze band Asobi Seksu from New York City. Together, the bands cover two modern-day classic Christmas songs, and Romantic Air packages these musical gems on a crimson slab of vinyl in a beautiful sleeve designed by Sean McCabe.
PAS/CAL covers Wham’s “Last Christmas” in typical PAS/CAL fashion, incorporating beautiful vocal harmonies and technical playing from all band members. The band plays guitars, drums, bass, and piano with a fervency and buoyancy that brings energy to the song. Casimer Pascal’s soft tenor has never sounded better as it floats effortlessly over the driving music. LTD’s are particularly noteworthy, as he gracefully flips the beats from a faux-disco beat to a standard rock beat, all the while slipping in imaginative fills throughout the six and a half minute song. While the original Wham version of “Last Christmas” is full of longing and heartbreak, PAS/CAL somehow transforms the song into a joyous romp that flirts with pop perfection. This offering by PAS/CAL only confirms their place as one of the most talented indie-pop ensembles we’ve ever heard.
Not to be outdone, Asobi Seksu also re-do a Christmas classic, this time The Ramones “Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight”. Beginning with the rumbling of feedback and the sound sleigh bells in the distance, Asobi Seksu erupts into their thick-sounding haze of shoegaze-pop with a sense of abandon and flippancy that The Ramones would be proud of. With female lead vocals by Yuki and a wall of layered distorted songs, Asobi Seksu freshly reinterprets the classic Ramones standard. In addition to the guitars, the band also uses the chimney sounds of bells and a dose of attitude to convey their version of “Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight”. This song introduces the listener to the musical style of this esteemed band.
In totality, this Christmas vinyl is not features great songs re-done by two great bands, as well as attractive packaging, but the whole project is just FUN. Season’s Greetings from PAS/CAL and Asobi Seksu reeks of joy and lightness, and is perfect for those suffer from the holiday Hum-Bug’s. Romantic Air Recording Company have burst out of the gate with a very strong release, and if the label continues to offer musical projects as well conceived as Season’s Greetings from PAS/CAL and Asobi Seksu, it will quickly become a distinguished music label. Highly recommended!
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