The Wassail Song, from the brand new Smalltown Poets album titled Christmas Time Again.
Smalltown Poets stormed back from a hiatus in 2011 with a full-length Christmas offering and now just three years later have offered up another--a Christmas album sequel--Christmas Time Again--and it's overflowing with Christmas goodies.
Traditional meets the modern!
"The Wassail Song" goes rock. There's a nice Latin choir intro track and then--BAM! It hits you with a "didn't see that coming" riff. "Merrily On High"gets a catchy, modern sheen. What a classic chorus! It's a lot like "Angels We Have Heard On High," only the "Gloria" is even longer.The crowning jewel? "Patapan"! What's a patapan? It's a sound of a drum. (The old fashioned kind, not those new high tech things rock bands play around with in packed arenas.) There's a Christmas song named after that? Yes. You might've even heard it popularized instrumentally by Mannheim Steamroller. But a modern pop band covering it? They must be crazy--or brilliant? Because this song is an album highlight that is surprisingly amazing. Opening with an unassuming pop/rock melody, the traditional verses are peppy and danceable. But really, it's the new chorus/bridge that really stands out. The Poets have turned a quirky little renaissance-sounding carol into a moving and soaring worship song. Can you say "wow" to that? I am. Other common carols get Poeticized and would've fit on the first album as well.
Smalltown Poets have done it again. Their first Christmas release was one of the best-kept secrets of Christian Christmas music of the past few years. If they'd stopped there, we'd still have been lucky. But they went and crowdfunded a second outing. And on top of that, bucking the trends of sequels not living up to their predecessors; this sequel actually can stand on its own legs. Which one is better is a matter of preference, but really, what does it matter? This record is an enjoyable listen from start to finish and that's uncommon for Christmas releases.