Reviewed by James Howard-Smith
If you are a regular listener to the Rimmerama programme you may well know that Zang Productions is a loose collective of musicians, rappers and artists based in Birmingham (Midlands, not Alabama). Christmas music means a lot to many people, but when recorded it often only irritates, even when handled by a established bands, which is something we see rather too much of. While Zang Productions are enterprising they are some way off being established, and you'll find that palpable on this download release. Zang's teaming of standards, both sacred and secular, with originals creates something like a bargain version of Jars Of Clay's 'Christmas Songs', the creative benchmark for this kind of project. Generally, this is something playful types call fun, while cynical folks choose the same word protected by inverted commas. There aren't many glimmers of invention in the studio clowning which stand up to repeated listening, unless you're impressed by the originality of a rap about a drunk Santa overdosing on paracetamol; it's delivered by Joel the Custodian in a goofy American style and Barrowclough trying to sound like The Streets, though I suspect he's hiding something more like the voice of a Blue Peter presenter. The best idea on the album was letting Bethan Marshall sing "O Come O Come Emanuel" unaccompanied, but the result isn't half of what it should be with the quality of her voice severely let down by inferior recording. On the plus side though, it's impossible to dislike an album which contains the song title "Gerry Mentlemen".
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