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The JAC (featuring the Christmas Crew)’s “Won’t Be Leaving Home For Christmas” Reviewed

If power pop had another name it would be Perth, Australia, where the genre that defines cult prospers as ever in the steady hands of the great Joe Algieri and his Egomaniac Records,  home for related exploits. Joe is a gifted songwriter and an outstanding musician, and for the past twenty years he has been dropping  a Christmas song a year. I found a dilly from 2000 on Spotify “Computer Xmas” with the coda of a lifetime, “How do we turn off the drum machine?” before some Beatley psychedelia instruments like the outro to “I Am The Walrus” Outstanding, and given the right listeners would have become a perennial.

It did send a message to Joe, and 18 songs later here we are in 2020 where the way Joe has constructed his songs since forever, sharing files from across the world and piecing it together, is the new normal. 1000s of miles from Perth is Illinois where Joe’s The Britannicas member Herb Eimerman lives, and adds bass and backing vocals to 2020’s seasonal release “Won’t Be Leaving Home For Christmas”, to the Netherlands.

The song is a pure power pop bummer, all ringing guitars and sound songs, and it is clearly informed by Covid-19″

“I won’t be leaving home for Christmas
Fill the stockings with dreams
We can share in brighter days
You can a wear a smile and keep your distance
Let’s make a wish and split the difference
Hey, I want to believe again”

I guess when you’ve done it this many times it makes perfect sense to keep the sleigh bells out, but while thematically it clearly is Unmerry Xmas, the music has nothing to do with the season. Clearly this was Joe’s intention (God knows he has the skills to add reindeer braying right this minute if he had the urge), but it is an odd one. Still, the song doesn’t disappoint. The ringing guitar solo towards the end is so nifty and smart it is more like a lick (Andy Prinkkila is my bet) and  Joe, who sounds as though he’s taken his licks this year, allows his joy in the season to emerge right there: the season lives in the sound of friends  playing together while far apart. A great moment on an excellent song. Check it out here .

Grade: B+



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