Saturday, 22 December 2007

Christmas - Low

I've never been one for Christmas songs myself. If I hear Noddy Holder screaming 'It's Christmaaaasss' I cover my ears and head for the hills. Unlike my fellow blogger Mondo I can fairly blaise about whacking on a Christmas compilation on the cd player in the weeks leading up to our favourite pagan ceremony. So when one of my all time favourite bands, Duluth, Minnesota's finest export Low released a Christmas album I was skeptical to say the least. Was this to be some half-arsed attempt to cover a load of famous Christmas songs that would taint my love of the band?

Well, no. It is a quite beautiful album and just right for Christmas morning whilst your peeling the spuds or even for playing during Christmas lunch. I know I've tried it on my family who usually cover their ears and beg for mercy when they hear most of my favourite records and my Mum at least loved it.

The most recognisable track on the album is a feedback driven version of 'Little Drummer Boy' that earned Low a few bob when it was used on a GAP tv advert. The wall of feedback is way down in the mix almost sounding like bagpipes. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's two part harmony is perfectly suited to this track. It is tradition with a twist. More straightforward is a beautiful low-fi acoustic version of Silent Night. It sounds like Mimi and Alan just jammed it sitting round the fire at home in Minnesota and its all the better for it. It's utterly gorgeous.

Low add their own Christmas songs to the album too. My favourite track is their own 'Long Way Round The Sea' which is features more of Low's two-part harmony and ultra slow delivery and in my opinion is one of their very best tracks. Mimi features on a straight, if slow and sparse version of 'Blue Christmas' and 'Taking Down The Tree' is reminiscent of Sparklehorse's later work. If you want something a bit different to listen too this Christmas lunchtime I'd strongly recommend this as it isn't just a great Christmas album, its a great album full stop.


Planet Mondo said...

I've been previewing some tracks and am hooked already. Definitely
be spinning this one up at Cloudbase Mondo next year.

The RedBoy said...

I saw them open for the Bad Seeds several years ago. They were wonderful. 'Take the Long Way Around' is an amazing track.

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