Ok modern Christmas music lovers things are starting to heat up. Recently we were treated to a full length Christmas release from TobyMac and now we get to rip the paper off a six song EP from Kutless!
I wanted to love this project, I really did, but this is not your older brothers Kutless.
If your a fan of their non worship projects you might be a tad disappointed, as this EP is clearly aimed at Christian Adult contemporary radio stations, and the, uh, female fans who loved Strong Tower and It Is Well. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
All is not lost for guys with a taste for meaty riffs. The bands version of Oh Holy Night has a nice set of teeth. It’s not a rocker, but it’s a very cool arrangement with some crunch. Another stalwart would be the previously recorded version of Mary Did You Know. This song originally appeared on Tooth & Nails Happy Christmas 4 thanks in part to Moi.
At one time I had a very close relationship with the radio dept at T&N and for a couple of years I had been lobbying for a Happy Christmas release that featured T&N/BEC versions of classic CCM christmas songs. The examples I used to pitch the idea was Kutless performing Mary Did You Know, a Plankeye version of Amy Grants Breath of Heaven, another artist performing Chris Rice’s Welcome to Our World, or someone doing 4Him’s Strange Way to Save the World.
I had been told that they liked the idea, but I never heard what had become if it. At the time I was trying to get label execs to do it on Happy Christmas 3, but it wasn’t until Kutless take on Mary Did You Know popped up on Vol. 4 that I realized they had taken me up on it. I would have liked a few more but it was cool to know I was a small part of making that happen.
As far as the rest of the EP, I must say with all due respect to John Micah, the vocals seem really strained at points. It’s almost like they were going for a really traditional contemporary vocal sound. Like something you might hear from your local praise team on any given Sunday. I hate to say it, but it just didn’t work for me.
I love Kutless, so I’ll be adding Oh Holy Night to my Xmas-hit list, but I’ll have to pass on the rest of the EP.
I give Kutless This is Christmas a rating of 3 out of 5