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CD REVIEW: Ranlom - Going On Holiday
By Dan Cohen - 12/10/2008 - 12:12 AM EST

Artist: BAND: Ranlom
Album: Going On Holiday
Label: Quirky Bird Records
Genre: Holiday
Sounds Like: Louis Prima/Mel Torme
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 5/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Do You Hear What I Hear, Little Drummer Boy
CD Review: Stylish, sophisticated, well-played and beautifully produced, Going On Holiday is an admirable addition to the not insubstantial Christmas music genre. And make no mistake- this is a Christmas album, not a generic holiday songfest. There's real feeling in his version of 'God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen'. Ranlom, the performing persona of Matt Molnar of Portland Oregon, clearly loves the holiday. He's got two originals on the rather short disc (seven songs totaling less than half an hour- not a criticism, mind you!). The title tune is a rather unassuming, very Mike Post (Hill Street Blues Theme) instrumental, and the other is 'Christmas at Grandma's House', a tune that clearly comes from the heart- and a fair bit of experience as well. A tight, well-played tune, the lyric is a bit labored in it's attempt to show the wacky hijinks of getting all the family in the same place at the same time for a picture. The stand-out tunes are Do You Hear What I Hear, with a lovely vocal by Tracey Harris, and a funky rendition of Little Drummer Boy, with stellar Drew Shoals on drums. The ensemble in general is outstanding, and while the arrangements can sometimes seem a bit forced, they're always surprising and interesting. They're by Mr. Molnar, and the crisp, clear production is by Molnar and engineer Kevin Nettleingham. Kudos all around.

BOTTOM LINE: A pleasant musical stocking-stuffer for this Christmas.

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