Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Snowflake Fell and It Felt Like a Kiss

That's the title to the new Christmas EP from the band Glasvegas.

If you've read posts on this blog before you know that I'm high on this new group from Glasgow and their debut album Glasvegas.

Now, just in time for the holidays, the group have released a very unique short six song set of songs that are far more appropriate for the holidays than most you'll hear. That's because unlike most commercial exercises in appeasing the masses with happy-talk holiday pap and nostalgia, Glasvegas deliver the goods with real, emotional and searing stories of joy and depression that have their say (and their place) among the holidays. Recorded in that hotbed of all things Christmas called Transylvania with a local backing choir, this record is a treat. (Photo at left taken from The Cousin Brothers blog.)

Here's a review song-by-song:
  • Careful What You Wish For. Starting with the sound of whipping winter winds, this short song quickly moves into a longing, lamenting and beautiful refrain about how the holidays can be a lonely time. While short, this song serves as a good first track for this set musically and, mostly, lyrically.
  • Fuck You, It's Over. Ah yes, that old traditional Christmas time chestnut "Fuck You, It's Over." Great for singing with the family on Christmas Eve. Actually, when you think about it, what could be worse than breaking up with your lover during the holiday season.  And, thinking for it a moment longer, who among us hasn't spent at least one holiday season feeling the sting or remorse over a breakup. And then, for a moment further, who hasn't felt like saying to the that former girlfriend or boyfriend...regardless of time of year..."Fuck you, it's over." This song brings all this Yuletide angst together in one tidy, concise and cathartic song. Wallow in it. Love it. 
  • Cruel Moon. This is an incredibly moving and heart wrenching song about being homeless at Christmas, and how - in these trying times - how any one of us is only a few days or weeks away from being in the same predicament next holiday season. "Walk on by and I'll be fine, this cardboard cover keeps away the ghouls of the night...I shared the same dreams as you yesterday and you think this is a world away? Beware of darkness for this could be you someday...under a cruel moon." Very moving stuff intensified with piano and strings that gives one pause to think about ones one fortune and consider compassion for others at this time of year.
  • Please Come Back Home. This is the most traditional holiday song on the EP with the subject centered on a person missing his girlfriend during the holiday season. But with lines like "Our living room's a deadroom without you here" and others it just seems far more honest, real and emotional than most similarly themed songs.
  • A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss). This is a song about a person feeling down during the holiday times and "a future that's going nowhere," but his/her outlook is suddenly restored when a snowflake falls and hits like a loving kiss with all the "ringing of the bells screaming out love." All will be OK we are told and, based on the passion and honesty that this song is delivered we believe in the power of a communal holiday love to restore the human spirit. Moving stuff.
  • Silent Night. This is a pretty much straight forward version of the classic. The first part of the song is just the singer with a echoey piano for a very solitary feeling. After the first refrain, the song transitions into a choir backed section sung in the local language of Transylvania. But you already know the words, so the foreign dialect only adds to the endearing warmth of the song. Only a constant echoing, chilly winter-drenched tone in the background reminds you that this is a song produced in the 21st century.
I'm sold on this band already, but this unexpected holiday bonus really drives my admiration home. I'm told this set will be available on iTunes as of Dec. 16. I'd recommend checking it out.

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