Christ­mas in Reno (Burger)

Pasatiempo - - PASA TEMPOS -

Reno has long served as a ge­o­graphic punch­line to jokes about towns down on their luck. So fit­tingly, this Christ­mas al­bum named af­ter the Ne­vada city is a dark ex­er­cise in hol­i­day hope­less­ness. In her sea­sonal release, Cassie Ra­mone, the for­mer front­woman of the well-re­garded in­die punk bands Vi­vian Girls and the Ba­bies, pul­ver­izes the Christ­mas canon. With her apha­sic vo­cals and feed­back-drenched gui­tars, Ra­mone takes the peren­ni­ally upbeat “Christ­mas (Baby Please Come Home)” and turns it into an ear-rat­tling carol, fit for be­ing stranded at an air­port bar in late De­cem­ber. Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christ­mas” gets the Dimetapp treat­ment. By the end of the two-minute track, the lyrics have be­come in­de­ci­pher­able through Ra­mone’s slurred vo­cals and the maxed-out re­verb of the record­ing. Per­haps only “Run Run Ru­dolph” emerges un­scathed. Ra­mone pleas­antly trans­fig­ures the song into a hazy gos­samer of shoegazer rock. De­spite its jar­ring jux­ta­po­si­tions, the al­bum is built around the catchy gui­tar hooks Ra­mone is known for. It’s the per­fect sound­track for a Christ­mas road trip to a hol­i­day gath­er­ing no one wants to at­tend.

— Casey Sanchez

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