Waves of melodies are skewed with the light touch of an electricity from the rhythm; a soft crash of drums and the rollicking beat they create as we enter a sweetened cover of “This Christmas” from The Tribe Band, but these first few bars are only a small sampling of the chill-spiking harmonies that await anyone who presses play on this latest release from the noted collaborative project (which features none other than Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins among others in this performance).
The Tribe Band doesn’t waste any time before launching into the swing of the rhythm as though they were already mid-song in “This Christmas,” and while this isn’t the first seductive tempo I’ve heard in a holiday cover, there’s something particularly unique about the style of the drums in this single. Like a fast-beating heart, they guide a stellar vocal down from the heavens, and in their wake leave a trail of haunting reverberations that on their own make this one of the more evocative Christmas songs to debut in the past year. This band and their truly all-star friends hit it out of the park here, and I’m hardly the only critic saying so right now.
Production-wise, “This Christmas” is a sterling offering from a band of musicians that have never been known to skimp on quality in the past. The varnish over the instrumental parts in the song is noticeably shiny but hardly a product of the commercial pop model, and I think that the vocals – while being lightly polished in certain parts of the chorus – are relatively raw by comparison. This doesn’t force any sort of duality or contrast in the music (truthfully, it does anything but), but it instead maximizes the depth of emotion in the textural elements of the song more than I would have expected it to. This crew is using every tool at their disposal here, from the mix to the melodies to the emotion within the players themselves, in their mission to make us embrace whatever’s on their mind via this medium, and though this is quite the involved cover song, it’s also probably one of the most emotive in tone because of the recognizable nature of the composition itself.
“This Christmas” is an excellent piece from The Tribe Band and a great addition to any winter holiday soundtrack, and whether you’re a big fan of seasonal music or not, I think that it has more than enough detail and decadence to please most pop fans well into the new year. This group is absolutely on fire with the harmonies in this song, and even if it is a track tailor-made for those who have a penchant for pulsating holiday grooves, it’s just as tangible a listen if you love pop melodies and unadulterated swing as much as I do. With “This Christmas,” The Tribe Band adds one more hit to the indie radar, and I can see where a lot of fans who weren’t listening before are going to be perking up their ears to this new tune. I’m eager for more, and after you’ve heard this, I think you will be as well.