| 5.8°C Dublin

Hark! Los Campesinos! have Christmas sorted

It's upon us dudes. That time of year when the Lord of Misrule clicks his fingers and society becomes a wacky or whacked-out alternative universe.

You don't need me to paint a picture. You witness it on the streets, in the shops, in the bars and on the telly. People become exaggerated versions of themselves, displaying a range of emotions that have either lain dormant or been concealed all year. Despite the glittering lights and sparkly tinsel, it's not always pretty.

It's a time of year that deserves a carefully modulated soundtrack.

Thankfully, over the decades songwriters and performers have diligently attempted to document this festive time and its myriad moods, concerns and iconography. You have your personal favourites. Those songs that soundtracked your childhood when, hopefully, you still trusted in goodness and optimism.

You may have allowed room for a twinge of melancholy or romantic fairytale fantasy. So whether it's Bing Crosby's White Christmas (written by Irving Berlin), James Brown's Soulful Christmas ("James Brown loves you, you lucky so-in-so"), Davitt Sigerson's It's A Big Country ("Just a word from me and Ann to say we're fine") or The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, it may be that these exercises in surreal escapism help us navigate a few week long time-lapse when we might otherwise find it difficult to locate or recognise reality.

Luckily, the six-piece indie outfit that formed while at university in Cardiff, and who have been releasing albums since 2008, have done us a favour and gathered a few old singles, added some new stuff and a cover of Mud's 1974 hit Lonely This Christmas in a potent six-track release package.

They're an eccentric bunch who've survived a few line-up changes to continue making intriguing, innovative and entertaining music that mocks those who first typecast them as purveyors of "twee pop".

When Christmas Comes is a bright upbeat opener that will serve you well at any time of day or night. Its brash sound attempts to make up for potential romantic disappointment.

"I wished away the last year," they chime. "It was the worst of times." But, as Los Campesinos! illustrate, there should always be hope. "In the morning, you're lying next to me, covered in gold, stole from the Nativity."

The Trains Don't Run (It's Christmas Day) taps into an ennui that can engulf us like a post-prandial glucose dip. It embraces the listener like how I imagine a snug onesie might do, as Gareth, happy to be going nowhere sings, "I wouldn't have it any other way. White snow may turn to grey but the Christmas sky is blue…"

Wisely, they move Mud's classic closer to Heartbreak Hotel than Les Gray's Glam Rock doo-wop gaff. And no one's going to argue with Kindle A Flame In Her Heart.

Meanwhile the Rob Campesinos! delivery of the traditional The Holly & The Ivy is heartwarming. A seasonal delight.

HHHHI


Privacy