Artist: December People
Album: Sounds Like Christmas
Release Date: October 30, 2001
Label: Magna Carta Records
A studio side-project of various renowned rockers (who, in this scenario, record under pseudonyms), The December People gather every few years to release Christmas-themed novelty music. With Sounds Like Christmas, the group boldly goes where no Christmas album has gone before. Using classic rock tunes by Led Zeppelin, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Queen as a starting point, December People craft a unique voice, working ubiquitous holiday standards into the rock mainframe, with sublime results. “Silent Night” flowing seamlessly from Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”; “Stairway to Heaven” begetting “T’Was the Night Before Christmas”; and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” arranged as “Bohemian Rhapsody” are all both brilliant and heart-felt in their flawless execution. (Incorporating a few bars of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony during that song’s fade is the kind of detail work that makes this an engaging listen). Far from producing a laser-show-flashback of pretentious, Moog-laden space-outs, the various homages are fun to spot. Those weaned on the pomp and ceremony of progressive rock will find that Sounds Like Christmas generates extraordinary enthusiasm for the season.
This article was originally written for Rolling Stone’s Online Magazine. Though Rolling Stone remains in print and online, this article is no longer a part of their archive and have been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.