Straight No Chaser, "Christmas Cheers"


The a cappella group Straight No Chaser's second holiday-themed album, "Christmas Cheers," may feature traditional songs like "We Three Kings," "O Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells," but the vocal ensemble puts its own spin on the tunes using a variety of genres to spread winter cheer. The familiar "Let It Snow" is reworked as a sassy R&B tune with a funky interlude, while the swinging "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" features the pizzazz of big band music. Straight No Chaser loosens up from the straight-ahead approach of its first holiday album by weaving jokes in between songs and often pausing for wisecracks -a cover of "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" features a spot-on impersonation of Elvis Presley, where a group member says, "Santa's left the building, baby, he's comin' for you." "Christmas Cheers" offers a few originals, including the tongue-in-cheek title track, which references Christmas sweaters and spiked eggnog.-Sandra Gordon