December 20, 2007

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Relient K, Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer
Capitol Records, Sept. 11
It so figures the big Christian emo band would wait until Christmas to explore the evil alchemy of the hidden track, a giggly castrato joke version of “Good King Wenceslas” tucked a full minute or two after they’ve faked us out with the final fade of “Auld Lang Syne” and a few spoken yuletide platitudes. Out of all the Santa albums minted this year, these little maggots definitely had the most fun making theirs — to paraphrase John Madden, they’re wipin’ the boogers on their pants, firin’ off poopy smells in the drum room, just good clean fun and no girls save for tender thoughts of snowflakes landing softly on the cheeks of born-again-virgin hotties. “12 Days of Christmas” gets a goodie-two-shoes-punk makeover, the band throwing in observations like how partridges and pear trees sound like pretty awful gifts if you really think about it. The Ramones and Dropkick Murphys inspire versions of “Deck the Halls” and “I’m Getting’ Nuttin’ For Christmas.” A- — E. W. S.