erasing clouds

The Matinee Holiday Soiree

review by dave heaton

Not many original Christmas songs get written these days, so this EP of new ones from five stellar indie-pop bands is a welcome addition to the world of holiday music. As enjoyable as these songs are, they inevitably feel lightweight next to the carols and standards of the season. So don’t expect these to become new standards. Together, though, they do paint a vivid picture of life around the holidays.

From the point of view of Santa’s elves, the cute ”Santa Needs a Holiday” by Strawberry Whiplash taps into the mythology of Christmas. Math and Physics Club’s “It Must Be Christmas” represents the idyllic Christmas of your childhood imagination, where bells are ringing, snow is falling, and gifts await by the fireplace. Northern Portrait’s “Leave the Trees Alone” – the best song here, as a song , not just a holiday device – paints a similar but les storybook scene, and has one great image: “they’re all excited / inside the houses / the trees are on fire”. Champagne Riot’s “Xmas Safari” and Bubblegum Lemonade’s “White Noise Christmas” both focus on the domestic, at-home side of the holidays. The first is a sparkling, cynical, slightly lusty, somewhat jaded love song. The latter is a typically clever, typically fuzzy, typically slight but melodic joke about getting lost in the snow of your television set.


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