A Very Cherry Christmas 2

Various Artists
A Very Cherry Christmas 2 LP

In case you didn’t notice, it’s Christmas. In the musical world, this means it’s the usual sprint for the number one spot as contested between some cheesy festive covers including some Boyband versions, the odd punked-up version of an old favorite, and the X-Factor winner (who is guaranteed to win as long as those pesky charity singles and viral campaigns stay out of the way).

And this is essentially what you get on this record. It’s a celebration of all those records and stand-offs in a non-competitive setting! Just take a look at the opening tracks to see it all unfold…

Pocket Gods kick the record off with the tongue-in-cheek Christmas song with fuzz-box guitars splashing over the traditional sleigh-bell rhythm. Rather amusingly, they’ve taken the title of their own ‘Jombal Portal EP’ in jest for this track, which they’ve called ‘Jombal Bells’, get it? If not, they’ve stuck in an ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Jombal’ refrain.

Dawn of the Replicants have one of the most entertaining songs on the record, a cover version of ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time’. Now, it does sound a little like it’s been sung by a very drunken cast of The Fraggle Show, but it’s great. Even those little green construction workers get a sound byte! It’s also one of the better-quality recordings on offer and they’ve spent a bit of time coming up with their interpretation rather than just ‘punking it up’, which helps.

The political angle is evident in The Bobby McGee’s ‘God Save the Queen’s Speech’, which lyrically bears little connection to the title! Despite this slight flaw, the list-of-greed lyrics that are present are presented over some great double-bass and ukulele (possibly).

‘Ho Ho Ho (A Bloody Merry Corporate Christmas)’ is, of course, the anti-capitalist rant that tells us all off for buying things… like records I guess.

Ultimately, the album is 40% weird shit (congratulations to Thee Cats Pyjamas who won this category paws-down), 20% melancholy (Uke Stanza leads the way here), 20% electro-rock crossbreed (Lucky Lucky Pigeons, come on down), and 20% worthy of a listen.

I do actually love this 20%, Jocky Venkatamaran’s ‘Parcel People (Christmas Eve)’ with a very Scottish vocal delivery, Paul Hawkins’ ‘Getting a Divorce for Christmas’, which has a certain ‘Fairytale of New York’ feel, the crunchy tones of ‘And if Christmas Never Came’ by The Narrow Escapes and the aforementioned Dawn of the Replicants track. But does anyone really buy a Christmas compilation for any other reason than to pad out the background noise at their Christmas party? Probably not, which means that this record only really comes into its own when one of these bands makes it big and people want to get hold of their rare tracks.

Alright, I’m sounding like a musical version of Scrooge, but I’d rather see myself as a grumpy musician, who would probably be played by Humphrey Littleton in the dramatisation of my life than lie to you all about the merits of this record.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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