Hanukkah Rocks

Hanukkah Rocks

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by The Leevees
     
 

Like the miracle of Hanukkah itself, the LeeVee’s ode to Christmas’s knock-kneed competition for holiday attention was written in eight days. That certainly explains the offhand fun and unselfconscious shtick of probably the only indie-rock Jewish holiday record out there. Adam Gardner of Guster and Dave Schneider of the Zambonis set out to fill the void of great (or… See more details below

Overview

Like the miracle of Hanukkah itself, the LeeVee’s ode to Christmas’s knock-kneed competition for holiday attention was written in eight days. That certainly explains the offhand fun and unselfconscious shtick of probably the only indie-rock Jewish holiday record out there. Adam Gardner of Guster and Dave Schneider of the Zambonis set out to fill the void of great (or any) Hanukkah pop songs, and given the less-than-stiff competition, they came up with nine avowedly secular ditties exploring the American Jewish experience at holiday time. There are potato latkes, melting chocolate coins, visiting grandparents in Florida (where the furniture is invariably plastic-coated). There’s no mention of Maccabees or the miracle of the oil -- when it comes to Jewish content, the LeeVees make The O.C.’s Seth Cohen look like the Gaon of Vilna. What’s left, though, is shiny and sugary as Hanukkah gelt -- from the “Happy Jack”-styled singles lament “Jewish Girls (at the Matzoh Ball)” to the ukulele-driven “At the Timeshare.” And leave it to the LeeVees to sum up American Jewish ambivalence with a song that bravely asks, “How Do You Spell Chanukkah?”

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
Much like Adam Sandler's attempt to fill in the gap in holiday music, the LeeVees, a duo of indie pop folks, put together a collection of mostly silly Hanukkah songs. The sound is decidedly indie pop, much in the vein of a more relaxed Presidents of the United States of America or Barenaked Ladies, but with a Jewish cultural themes and jokes. The album opens with a Beatlesque tribute to the latke, followed by a more thumping debate on latke condiments. A Christmas song (in which the band promises to march on with Chinese food) and a tribute to the timeshares of Boca and the elderly Jews who love them keep a rolling feel to the proceedings. The pace picks up a bit for a song built around the multiple spellings of Hanukkah and gelt-giving, moving almost into a Yardbirds sound for a bit. Semi-trippy, semi-psychedelic pop takes over for a bit. Eventually the groove slows back down, almost to a Jan & Dean sound. There's some very nice versatility shown off here, but the focus is really on the happy, self-deprecating humor inherent in the lyrics and an ability to laugh at the details of the culture and the world beyond by proxy. There aren't too many Hanukkah albums to begin with, and non-traditional ones tend toward the humorous (the aforementioned Sandler, the Klezmonauts). This one fits in just fine -- give it a spin at the next Hanukkah party you hear of.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/2005
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624949824
catalogNumber:
49498
Rank:
372541

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