Eldridge Rodriguez has never exactly been a ray of sunshine as a songwriter. A brilliant one yes, but never one that brightens days with words of cheer and happiness. Yet somehow Rodriguez’s new EP Christmas on the Allston-Brighton Line manages to turn that frown upside down…or at the very least puts on a happy veneer to what can be a highly-depressing time for those among us who are unlucky or alone.
Showing an evolution of style from his recent full-length You Are Released, Rodriguez blends more of a post-punk sound with his alt-country leanings, as folksy vocals combine with Joy Division and Talking Heads-style sounds. The catchy “Christmas Eve (At the Old Country Buffet)” is a particularly a stunning track.
On the whole, Christmas on the Allston-Brighton Line is lighter fare than previous releases, but maintains the hallmarks of Rodriguez’s sound that makes him an astounding songwriter. The cutting lyrics are there, the tight song-crafting can be found, and the heavy vocals with a surprisingly light touch stand out. This is a holiday EP worth listening to.
(Midriff Records, 3 Adamson St., Boston, MA 02134)