Various - A Very Cherry Christmas 2
Bored of Cliff, Slade and Band Aid soundtracking the annual turkey carve-up? Perhaps some respect is due to Cherryade. This is the second year in a row the label has released an alternative Christmas compilation in an attempt to divert attention from the usual festive fare. Unfortunately, while last year's was a reasonable effort, this year's is often a chore equal to that post-Xmas hoovering pine needles out of the carpet.
One could argue there are two types of Xmas song; those that celebrate (the birth of Jesus, if you're Cliff; getting pissed and making a fool of yourself on the dancefloor for anyone else), and those that point out how crap a time of year it can be. Given that this compilation features mostly unknown indie acts, guess which category the majority of these tracks fall into? Songs reflect on the three d's: dole, divorce, and death. Jocky Venkataraman informs us at the end of Parcel People (Christmas Eve) (two and a half wearing minutes of acoustic Scottish miserablism), "We live in a country where people spend more on their gardens than they do on charity". After which you'll want to pull on a jumper and dungarees, grab a big spade, and go out and PLANT LOTS OF TREES!
If you're not reaching for the prozac yet, you might be after hearing the terrible cover versions on offer. Dear Dawn of the Replicants, covering a bad song badly does not make for a masterclass in irony. Their rendition of Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time is near unlistenable. The same applies to Zoltan Kodaly School For Girls and their version of Stop the Cavalry, although you should still check out their recorder-based take on Hounds of Love (see MySpace). Far better when it comes to festive thievery is Applicants' Come Back Home (for Christmas), which steals heavily from Maggie May. Bonus points for dropping in a drum 'n' bass and rapping section.
Then there's those masters of twee, The Bobby McGee's, and God Save The Queen's Speech. A childlike Scotsman half whispering, "I'd really love a dalek or an mp3 player/ Or what about a dalek that plays mp3s?" just has to be good. Elsewhere, Thee Cats Pajamas deliver a short burst of headache-inducing techno, the sort of thing the late John Peel might have played. It has very little to do with Xmas, but who cares?
Keep the patience and you will discover a couple more promising unknowns: The Narrow Escapes (sounding a lot like Elliot Smith) and the distinctively-voiced Ryan Hardy. A Very Cherry Christmas 2 is - to use another bad analogy - a bit like one of those low end Xmas puddings where almost every mouthful includes a bit of stone that nearly breaks your teeth. Still, it can be had for six quid from Cherryade's website; so an extra star for being cheap. Who said there's no goodwill left in the world?
Last updated: 19/04/2018 03:48:44