In competition for Santa’s favorite album of the year with Punk Goes Christmas from Fearless Records comes The XMas EP from Never Shout Never. The inviting four track EP offers a playful flair of wintery wonder-ness in its two covers and two Christmas originals. For pop punk fans who enjoy well timed claps and soft whispering vocals, Never Shout Never delivers just the right amount of both and the bite sized EP stands tall as a strong contender in the fight for best Christmas album of 2013.
The album opens with a heartwarming cover of “Winter Wonderland,” a classic Christmas carol, filled with sleigh bells and some nice harmonies that help add an Indie twist to the well-known tune. The track ends a little short and ends on a note that leaves the song feeling short and the listeners straining for one more chord. The second track on the EP shines the brightest. The quaint duet entitled “Meet Me under the Mistletoe” features “The Voice” contender-turned-solo-artist, Dia Frampton. Her soft bluesy voice laces the song with exquisite sweetness, a role reminiscent of Zoey Deschanel’s part in “Baby it’s Cold Outside” from Elf (2003). Besides the sultry duet aspect, the lyrics of “Meet Me Under The Mistletoe” share quite a bit in common with “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which may contribute to the sense of familiarity brought about by the song.
To end The XMas EP, Never Shout Never tackles one of the greats: John Lennon. He covers “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, a song created with unfathomable heart, a long history or social activism, and a desire for Peace. On the EP, the song loses some of its rawness and emotionalism; however, one cannot expect much else when covering a song written by people who wanted social change and world peace and who used the power of music to both enlighten others and express their desires. Never Shout Never took on a big challenge, intentionally or not, by covering such a song, but they do not completely fail at making it their own or making it jingly, and showing the gall to attempt to do justice to a Lennon song shows artistic guts.
Welcome The XMas EP with open ears and enjoy a pop punk filled holidays.
Never Shout Never
The Xmas EP
Review by Alice Carson