Every year, the symphonic pop group The Polyphonic Spree puts on a holiday extravaganza in Dallas. 2012 marks the 10th time it's done that, so the band has released this grand summary of what the holiday season means to its members. The music goes well beyond the usual holiday cheer. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a psychedelic reworking with swirling keyboards, an untamed flute, and a Middle Eastern mode that adds a depth beyond predictable platitudes. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas—War Is Over" never loses its importance in a violent world. "White Christmas" lurches with a mystical hangover. "Let It Snow," with harp and piano, evokes the season's cheery wonder. School of Seven Bells joins in for an epic version of "Silver Bells" that takes the tune into the 21st century. Later, a four-minute reprise of the song is slightly more sedate. This isn't a traditional holiday album by any measure, but it's plenty fun and true to The Polyphonic Spree's free and sprawling spirit.
A Working Elf's Theme
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)