Ana Gasteyer // sugar & booze
This SNL comedian mixes captivating vocals with jazzy charm in her new holiday album
A swinging throwback album filled with holiday cheer, it's difficult not to like sugar & booze. Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer follows up her 2014 album I'm Hip with this sweet collection of Christmas tracks. Much like the titular treats, this record is best served in responsible portions, with virtually any of its 15 tracks being a standout on your next holiday playlist. While listening to the entire album in one sitting might give you a toothache, these tracks are infectious. Capturing the spirit of a mid-century television variety show, Gasteyer has enlisted a crack team of musicians capable of blending Broadway precision with jazzy charm and liveliness. Gasteyer's talents as a vocalist and a comedian are formidable, hearkening to the showbiz stars of yesteryear, and the strange world of holiday music is the perfect forum for this brand of fizzy, retro excursion. It isn't until the midpoint of the album when the familiar tracks come in, mixing originals (like Cuban-tinged "Secret Santa" with fellow SNL darling Maya Rudolph) with somewhat obscure Christmas tracks, Gasteyer creates a delightful wonderland.
— Nick Warren