Now this is how you make a rock & roll Christmas album. You keep the mood warm and festive but never forget to rock. You write some worthy originals and cover some holiday tunes that don’t often get done (would you believe Jethro Tull’s “A Christmas Song”?). You call in an unsung legend, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders, and give him a song that he could have done in his heyday (“Santa Make Me Good”). And you wrap it all up with a brilliant and long-overdue joke: “Welcome Christmas,” originally sung in Dr. Seuss’s Whoville, now done to sound just like . . . the Who. It doesn’t hurt that the Jersey quartet’s trademark sound — garage-y folk-rock with killer hooks and shimmering male/female harmonies — is perfectly suited to a seasonal disc. But they also throw in a few curves; “I Believe in Father Christmas,” for example, shows how the Greg Lake track might have sounded if Phil Spector had produced it. All told, this is the Christmas Album of the Year — and a good enough one to hopefully get the Grip Weeds the attention they’ve deserved for a decade-plus.
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