“Deck The Halls” by Dallas String Quartet comes just in time for another holiday EP to follow up last year’s because this Quartet transform Christmas classics like that of no other, even Trans-Siberian Orchestra who they have shared the stage with. The actual quality of players in Dallas String Quartet are as good as they come, and there is no way this can be argued from the very first time I heard it and I am now hooked on their astonishing skills. A whole new feeling of jubilance and wonder can be heard without question on this rocking 2020 instrumental.
This excellent version is driven by the impeccable rhythm of percussionist Efren Guzman Jr. and his swinging capabilities as an all-round musician are what really make this version cook outside the box, but it’s probably just what they do. I think anyone’s head will turn at the sound of this band and what they do, but they are not the only ones to do it, but they do it their own special way. This wouldn’t be complete without their main composer and the others in the band, which I will also get into later in this review, but Guzman stands out to me the most because it changes the tune so drastically.
The way Dallas String Quartet deliver a classic holiday song is not exactly traditional unless you see the neo-classical instrumental acts of the day as becoming traditional in their own right, which I do because I like this sort of thing. They did not just go through the motions here, it is so well-done I am not even sure how to musically describe it, because it reaches into the musical spectrum which dropping vocals can always do but there is something more to what this outfit are all about.
What drives their sound is not all there is to Dallas String Quartet though, it’s just what keeps “Deck The Halls” musically fueled for the rest. They include main composer Ion Zanca leading the strings which are mutli-layered by Melissa Priller and Elinor Dunbar, and it’s all held together with the electricity of Anthony Plant on guitar (Michael W. Smith, Randy Brecker, etc) and the bass playing of veteran Young Heo. Each player is impressive and evenly heard front to back through the smoking recording, it is nothing short of brilliant and this is but only one opinion on that consensus.
The ambience of the original “Deck The Halls” and so many other versions is still there, but they take it miles away and bring it back and this is really not an easy feat. I was rocking the second the track started to take off and its wings did the rest to have me ultimately enthused at a time where the holidays are more stressful than ever, and it works immeasurably for that purpose alone. Dallas String Quartet bring more to a great classic than money can buy, it should be no secret and it no longer is one for me.
by Bethany Page