Scala & Kolacny Brothers - December

It had to happen at some point, but we've held it off until six weeks before. Yes, we're covering our first Christmas album of the year but, if truth be told, were more Christmas albums like Scala & Kolacny Brothers's December, we'd be a lot more receptive to Christmas albums...even in July. Alternative in every sense of the word, the Belgian choir have shunned covers of the more traditional Christmas tunes - no place for you here Wizzard - and chosen to turn their sumptuous harmonies to the likes of Smashing Pumpkins' 'Christmastime' and Pearl Jam's 'Let Me Sleep (It's Christmas Time)'.

Steven Kolacny has even found time to craft his own takes on the season to be jolly and, arguably, 'Tears Can Sparkle Too' and 'Sun-kissed Sun' are the finest things on here: the former gently beautiful and firmly uplifting; the latter peppier with Kolacny's fondness for electro beats bolstering the song's final third. Yet because the majority of tracks on here - with the most notable exceptions of bonus track 'Last Christmas' and The Pretenders' '2000 Miles' - is probably only known to the original artist's fans, the tracks feel fresh and are delightful on the ears, managing to tread the fine line between sickeningly sweet and sugary goodness. When the focus shifts away from the choral, such as on 'Christmas Must Be Tonight' (The Band) and 'Eskimo' (Damien Rice), the tracks don't quite work and are eminently skippable, but the rest of December will prove a welcome addition to any festive playlist.



out of 10

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