This was obviously planned some months ago, but we got it too late for Christmas. Bad planning, someone. Still you can buy it now for next year.
The backstory is that record label Hand Of Glory records asked 12 artists for an original Christmas song. Presumably they left the remit wide open, because the songs range from people making a decent stab at a Christmas tune to those who took the bleakest side of A Christmas Carol as inspiration, aiming to leave children weeping with fear over the yule log.
Opener The Wolf and the Woods by Mary Epworth is somewhere in the middle, a gentle electrodance offering that mentions mistletoe. Young Knives — who should be more famous than they are — raid the men’s choral ensemble cupboard for the medieval Low Carol, one of the album’s standouts. Extradition Order follow this, and take the Charles Dickens approach, the ghost of Christmases future channelling through The Fall.
Awake Awake by The Count Of Chateau Noir heads for Brothers Grimm and wraps up macabre lyrics in a twee Christmas tune, though at least they mention Christ (inasmuch as they list His wounds on the cross before wishing you a joyful new year).
Citizen Helene’s Beach Boy-esque On Christmas Day and The Webb Brothers’ Are You Coming Home for Christmas? are both pleasingly festive, while Kiran Leonard’s Huygens Probe is what a Radiohead Christmas song would sound like.
Standout is the full bore punk Atheist by Jon Epworth, preceded by Aliens Pat 11-second long Santa Fell Down the Chimney; entire lyric: “Santa Fell Down the Chimney / Broke His Back and Died”, sung a la Noel Coward.
Buy now, store in the loft for next year’s entertainment.