When you see a record called Christmas with Bigfoot, you know you’re in for something eccentric, and Streaking in Tongues plus Marty Achatz do not disappoint in the album’s six unique companion tracks to the album of the same name. Christmas with Bigfoot is not the avant-garde electronic/folk that Streaking in Tongues are known for, but instead a minimalist spoken word effort that sees the band stepping to the side of their collaborator for what feels like one of the most poignant and provocatively poetic storytelling sessions of the season thus far. It’s another degree of experimentalism that we don’t often get to experience on the mainstream side of pop, and one of my favorite new records of the Christmas season this year.
The stories in Christmas with Bigfoot don’t just touch on the fabled, but rather tell us of magic, melancholy, and melodic reflection that is almost certain to resonate with audiences who are feeling a whirlwind of emotions this time of year. Tracks like “The Christmas Eve Wrinkle” and “Live Long and Prosper” get awfully deep with regards to their breakdowns of love and yuletide thoughts in a time of pandemic culture like nothing else most of us have ever experienced before, but they aren’t hard to endure as they come together before our very ears. On the contrary, this is an experimental record that is truly as smooth as eggnog because of the obvious attention to detail that was given by every party involved here.
There is no denying the equality between collaborators in “Bigfoot and Little Women” and a wartime “The Hand of God,” and I get the feeling that they probably had as much fun making this record as I did listening to it. There’s a confidence in Achatz’s voice that ensures us we’re listening to a faithful presentation of his book, and moreover that Streaking in Tongues is the right kind of duo to be backing him up in this kind of an effort. They come into the mix with such an ease that you would think this is their fifth or sixth time making an album together, and I would have to assume that this is only going to be the first of many collaborations these artists work on in the years still ahead.
Christmas with Bigfoot is absolutely unlike any other record I’ve heard in the past two years or more, and I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say it’s pretty close to flawless as a spoken word offering. There are a couple of rough edges and some blunt nods to the DIY side of Streaking in Tongues’ sound, but they’re intentionally included here to further validate the words Achatz is piecing together so completely. This is a sit-down LP that you’re going to have to hear a few times too really get, but once you have the full picture that Christmas with Bigfoot will paint inside of its run time, you’re going to deem it as much a classic as I am now.
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