Saint John and Farmer Jesse’s brand new holiday album, Krampus and Clover, is a wild ride across several genres, from melodic Clash inspired punk rock, to drunken pub anthems, and even some infectious bobble-head funk thrown in for good measure.
The album begins with “Long Walk Home,” which brings to mind the fun guitar stylings and feel of a Dead Milkmen classic, as Farmer Jesse pours his heart out about the difficulty of dealing with a problematically drunken girlfriend on a cold night out.
Next, “Everyday is Christmas” comes in strong and melodically, weaving a tale about interesting characters in the city, yelling, “Everyday is Christmas, when you’re plowing through the snow.”
“Oh My My” enters with a bang, and almost feels like “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” until Farmer Jesse stumbles to the microphone and, in a rhythmic way reminiscent of The Transplants, screams, “It’s freakin’ Christmas, Tell me that again, I can see the tinsel on the poles yeah.”
Then it starts to get a little weird. “Jesus Keep My Honda Runnin’ “ is a funk delight that feels like a Curtis Mayfield song, complete with falsetto vocals and an Isley Brothers inspired guitar solo at the end. Saint John quips, “You can use the cheap stuff or the premium gas; check the oil, say a prayer, and hide your stash.” It also features backup vocals from Angel Z, lead singer of potty-mouth r&b legends The Fufops, known for their song Fat Girls. The funk continues with, “Sleigh Ride to the East Side,” as Farmer Jesse reminds the fellas as well as the ladies that, “Nothin’ makes it wetter, than an ugly sweater,” which might not be true at all, but man does he make it sound convincing!
Krampus and Clover takes an interesting turn at this point, as Saint John briefly pretties up the album with a dreamy, low-power ballad about his hometown, entitled “Snowdome.” While the snow is still on the ground, the next track up is a musical adaptation of the classic Robert Frost poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” in which Saint John sings the timeless refrain, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
The next song, “Chase Another Crown,” is a pub rock anthem, prime for drunken sing-a-longs, and feels like St. Patrick’s Day in December, complete with marching drums and raucous guitar chords ringing out amid the madness.
Krampus, the second to last song on the album, is a wonderful mix of history and depravity; a musical ode to a feared figure in the folklore of many countries. Krampus, the evil companion of St. Nick, is known for punishing bad children, even taking some away in his washtub. That is, of course unless you have left him a gift of a carp in your bathtub, or a bottle of brandy, which are both known to ward him off.
The album ends quietly but triumphantly with the Coltrane inspired song, “My Least Favorite Things,” sung by Layne Chamblin of electro-pop group The Oncomings. A humorous take on the original, Layne complains about her least favorite things, such as, “Rationing all of my pills for the week,” and “needing a bag and then pawning my rings,” closing the record in true holiday spirit, albeit a slightly drunken, twisted spirit.
released November 28, 2014
Recorded at Junior's Spot by John Randall, Jesse Robertson, Pauly Paul, and Angel Zamarron. Also features Layne Chamblin on backup vocals. Steve Miles was there too, as was Morgan Pierce.
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