October 29, 2013 - Epitaph
There's a delicious bit of irony to hearing a band called Bad Religion singing with evident fervor, "Oh come let us adore him/Christ the Lord" as they power through a hopped-up of "O Come All Ye Faithful." It's a contradiction that the long-standing Los Angeles-based punk outfit embrace as gleefully as the young lad on the cover of this EP does his new pair of shoes. As if to drive the point home, a portion of the sales of this between-album trifle (and an accompanying 7-inch featuring a cover of the Kinks' "Father Christmas") will be donated to a non-profit that aids survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. Well, that and an alternate mix of "American Jesus" closes out the disc.
This EP might be a surprise to some, but it is in keeping with the puckish spirit that has underpinned the quintet's nearly 35 years together. Sure they attack these carols and holiday standards with the same strident tone, but it really wouldn't be Bad Religion without that. Instead, the band sneak in little personal touches: the nod to "I Wanna Be Sedated" that gallivants through their take on Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," the pogo-friendly rhythms dominating "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and plenty of their signature "oozin' aahs."
For most other acts, a move like releasing a collection of Christmas tunes would feel like a somewhat desperate attempt to remain in the public eye. Hell, it's almost become the standard move for major pop acts. But we're talking about Bad Religion here, a punk band still capable of selling out theaters all across the U.S. on name recognition alone. Who here would decry them having a bit of fun for a good cause? Besides, considering the chaff that gets shat out during the holiday season, taking a hearty bite out of the Yuletide spirit can only be a positive thing.