REVIEW: Streaking in Tongues — Christmas with Bigfoot (feat. Marty Achatz) (LP)
Between the chime of the guitar strings and the soft voice of Marty Achatz, there’s a hypnotic sensibility to “Bigfoot Noel” that seems to spread throughout all of Streaking in Tongues’ audio companion to Achatz’s Christmas with Bigfoot. We’re never pushed into psychedelic territory or made to experience some noisy attempt at postmodern pop that doesn’t make any sense out of the context of this release; contrarily, Christmas with Bigfoot is a self-contained odyssey that feels both personal and very relatable if you look just beneath the surface.
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“Bigfoot Noel” is but a short chapter in this six-part opus collaboration between Marty Achatz and the much-hyped Streaking in Tongues, and beside the suite of “The Christmas Eve Wrinkle” and its epilogue in “The Hand of God,” it feels like a minuscule example of these players’ talents on tape. This is first and foremost a spoken word album, but in their own atmospheric manner, Streaking in Tongues turns it into another indie tour de force that demands a response out of its audience right from the start and doesn’t give up for the duration of its tracklist.
While “Bigfoot and Little Women” isn’t shy about hashing out the darker side of what these three artists’ chemistry has to offer, it has as many points of light as it does glimpses into the nocturnal. It would seem to me that contrast is one of the most important parts of this album, if for no other reason than to give us as clear a look into the soul of the narrator as we can be afforded given the setting. “Christmas Grammar 2020,” though one of the shortest works here, has a relevant tone that speaks to the COVID culture we’re living in for yet another Christmas season, and it defies expectations in steering away from any underlying politicization it could have sported. Streaking in Tongues isn’t giving us a lecture piece in this album, but a smorgasbord of emotion that always centers on Marty Achatz’s verses, which is likely difficult for musicians with as magnetizing personalities as this father and son do.
Whether it be the Trekian thought-play in “Live Long and Prosper” or the full-on theatre of “Bigfoot and Little Women,” Marty Achatz and Streaking in Tongues are giving us their best and then some in Christmas with Bigfoot, which I’m going to say now is one of the more criminally overlooked records to debut in the past couple of months. There hasn’t been as much interest in this collaboration as there should be, but critics are going to rally behind its release for a few reasons — number one being what it represents for Streaking in Tongues. For the duo, this is another instance where they’re going outside of the comfort zone that a lot of their contemporaries aren’t able to even dream of leaving, and they don’t just sound energized by the fresh air; they’re embracing the experience and sounding like a couple of old pros. I applaud their effort, and so will you.