Over the years, we’ve heard dozens of versions of “The Little Drummer Boy,” from symphonic takes to more rock-oriented renditions, but in their cover of the song The Tano Jones Revelry provide us with a unique look not only at their aesthetical goals but who they are as musicians under one moniker. The Tano Jones Revelry isn’t valuing polish over passion in this performance, but instead getting down to the business of establishing who they are in front of and behind the bright spotlight (the center of which they’re occupying in this single like nobody’s business).
The tonal presence of the instrumentation in this track is really something, and I think it’s amazing how well integrated the percussion is with the melodic componentry here. There’s never a moment in which an element of the harmony is left obstructed by a virtuosic accent that doesn’t belong there to begin with; there’s a humble sensibility to the design of this track as well as the production quality in general, and I don’t think we would be able to appreciate the level of skill these players are putting into their work were it developed any other way than what we’re hearing in this scenario.
This master mix doesn’t conceal anything from the audience, but instead finds a way to blend unassuming sonic flaws into a patchwork of melodicism that speaks to the authenticity of this band’s sound. They aren’t fronting for some extra streams on Spotify; they want to grab our attention with their energy and put forth a melody that has a couple of breaking points, if for no other reason than to remind us that this is a group of players at the controls and not some artificial intelligence performing a new single off of algorithms. It’s not blue-collar per se, but it’s close enough for a Christmas song.
Although this is probably the most rigid arrangement I’ve heard in a pop holiday release this year, I think it was necessary for the band to go this way to ensure a disciplined feel to the rhythm as well as the hook in general. Rigidity can dictate the narrative of a single in both good and bad ways, and this is a situation where The Tano Jones Revelry needs it just as a framework through which to introduce us to their passion in all of its unfiltered glory. It’s powerful, and it feels entirely organic from start to finish.
I’m looking forward to hearing more of what The Tano Jones Revelry can offer the audience in the future, and I think that their potential for releasing original material as good as what they’ve done in this cover is simply too great to be ignored. There’s plenty of great Christmas music making its way into our daily lives right now, but if you’re hungry for something just a little different and packing a whole lot of charisma from one moment to the next, The Tano Jones Revelry have you covered with their version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”
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