Christmastime brings about a lot of different thoughts and emotions in all of us, from the extreme joy of being around friends and loved ones to the equally extreme annoyances that come with spending time around said friends and family, but in their new album Christmas with Bigfoot, Streaking in Tongues take holiday reflections to another level of poetic depth. Joined by the emanate poet Marty Achatz, the revered experimental father/son duo explore concepts of life, suffering, internal critique, the postmodernity of an endless pandemic, as well as patriarchal themes only suggested within the subtext of the verses, and to me, it just might be the most profound outsider work they’ve submitted to their audience thus far. Streaking in Tongues are in a league of their own, but they might have found the perfect partner in Marty Achatz.
Instrumental accents are minimalistic in “Bigfoot and Little Women” and the much shorter “Bigfoot Noel,” but they nonetheless progress the stories we’re being told in a way that silence just couldn’t have accomplished. “Christmas Grammar 2020” and “The Hand of God” hint at a more familiar and lo-fi sound from Streaking in Tongues than the other tracks in this record do, but scarcely is there an instance in which it feels like Achatz’s poetry is overshadowing the capabilities of these players. The Fergusons have a way of making whatever’s put before their backdrop an extension of their personalities, and it’s in this respect that Christmas with Bigfoot is no different than any other record they’ve released so far.
“The Christmas Eve Wrinkle” and “Live Long and Prosper” are the only real linguistic-centric works in the tracklist, but what they’re framed by in the surrounding “Bigfoot Noel” and “Christmas Grammar 2020” is what really creates the chills factor here. This is the kind of album that you need to sit down with and devote some undivided attention to if you really want to appreciate everything it has to offer, and when taking into account how few records there have been this year to really demand that kind of a listening session, there’s no debating whether or not what Streaking in Tongues are delivering in Christmas with Bigfoot should rank among their greatest accomplishments, collaborative or otherwise.
There are a lot of interesting Christmas releases hitting record store shelves in 2021, but for all intents and purposes, I really cannot say that I’ve heard another album quite as thoughtful and thought-provoking as Christmas with Bigfoot is. There’s a darkness that shadows our narrator broken up only by the light of the multi-instrumental Streaking in Tongues, and in comparison to the other progressive outings I’ve been reviewing in recent months, this is easily the most efficient and the most feeling. That’s not exactly an easy combination of features to pack into one LP, but in terms of what I’ve come to expect out of this duo and anyone that comes into their sphere, I’ve got to say it’s more than on par with their proven pedigree as creators.