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Posted by Tom Hollywood on October 25, 98 at 19:04:55:

Well, I finally broke down and bought TSO's latest. Where to begin... Hmmm... I love, love, LOVE the instrumentals "Boughs of Holly, Midnight Christmas Eve" and "Appalachian Snowfall," and yes I DO see similarities between the latter and "First Snow," but both are still different and "Appalachian Snowfall" kicks the other's ass! They really did capture the magic and beauty and joy of falling snow.

"Christmas Canon" is exceptional, but the only thing I find odd is, here they are, performing with a live orchestra, and that piece more than any other sounds terribly over-synthesized. I was shocked that it didn't sound more real. Also, throughout the CD, the chorus often sounds synthesized, and I just don't get it!
The rest of the album? Ummm... I can't say I like much else besides those four tracks. The vocals are kind of annoying, both male and female. The Joe Cocker sound worked well in the first album, but I didn't find it very interesting or effective here, except in "Music Box Blues." What song is "The Three Kings and I," anyway? It's really out of place on this album. Actually, if you listen not-so-carefully, it's an obvious borrowing from "Sammy and Tex."

"The Music Box" has some nice stuff, but somehow the lyrics seem a little corny performed. They read fine, but, orally, something just seems strange. Maybe it's the accent on certain words; the verbal expression of UP and DOWN notes, sorta Cindi Lauper-like--not that that's a bad thing (Cindy has a nice voice)--but the emphasis on the rhyming parts just sounds...odd.

Someone also mentioned that artwork of the little girl's head. Yeah, it does look like a hacked cut and paste job; and it's very disproportionate to her body; and the shading and color is also kinda out of sync. She has super-wavy hair, yet the top of her head looks perfectly arced and flattened, with no wild strands, as if sh was sleeping with her head in a Tupperware bowl... :)

I'm really not trying to thrash this CD. I DO love the instrumentals a lot, but the songs, unlike the last album's, just don't do it for me. Very curious to see what the third installment brings. More instrumental, please! :)

Really, guys...nice job! I might like it better after ten or so listens. I've only played it about 7 times so far...

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