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A Very Chilly Christmas


Artist: Chilly Gonzales
Label: Gentle Threat
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 November 2020

Composer Chilly Gonzales releases his own take on the cliched Christmas album with A Very Chilly Christmas, 16 familiar songs (39 min, 11 sec) with a Chilly twist...

Of the thousands of different takes on familiar Christmas songs and traditional carols is there anything new that hasn't been tackled before? Does the world need yet another reworking of music we know so well, but only drag out for one month of the year? Chilly Gonzales things we do.

For the most part A Very Chilly Christmas is a rather subtle and intimate affair with solo piano and/or strings. The traditional songs are well realised, but then out of the blue we get a piano rendition of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. It feels out of place with the rest of the album and the actual performance is not overly well polished. In fact there are a number of songs on here where the piano plays the odd duff note, but tries to bury it with a little flourish and key change.

But where the album falls totally flat is with the three Jarvis Cocker vocal contributions. Cocker, not known for his beautiful singing voice, or his affinity with Christmas. Merely talks through the lyrics of 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. The rest of the song is well realised, but Cocker's opening "vocals" make this an unintentional funny track.

Likewise 'Snow Is Falling In Manhattan' would have benefited from a little more rehearsal. At times I was wondering if Cocker actually knew the tune well enough to have actually entered the recording studio. He also has a rather distracting nasal whistle when he inhales.

Feist's vocals on 'The Banister Bough' is probably the album's main highlight... the rest is fairly meh.


Nick Smithson

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