- Audio CD (29 Nov 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Rough Trade Records
- ASIN: B00002R0SK
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,602 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Just Like Christmas|
|2. Long Way Around The Sea|
|3. Little Drummer Boy|
|4. If You Were Born Today|
|5. Blue Christmas|
|6. Silent Night|
|7. Taking Down The Tree|
|8. One Special Gift|
Low's 'Christmas', on the other hand, like Spector's 'Christmas Album' is music to warm your soul instead - an absurdly cheap mini-CD which is one of Low's most pure, self-contained and poignant efforts. Their original compositions here are all full of such emptional depth and a haunting, childlike innocence and honesty - no other band on this planet could produce a jaunty, sleigh-bell driven singalong like 'Just Like Christmas' without being laughed off the face of the earth.
The traditionals are just beautiful: 'Little Drummer Boy', with it's slowed down wall of distorted guitar and thumping drum set against perfectly levelled vocals is an absolute gem and 'Silent Night'- a simple vocal (Alan and Mimi in total intuitive harmony) and acoustic version of this tired standard, is turned into a thing of pure majesty. Likewise, their drastic revision of "Elvis's" 'Blue Christmas' retains the spirit (not the schmaltz)of the original, but takes on a whole other dimension with the minimalistic instrumentation and Mimi's almost sultry vocals. There's more - but you should really hear it yourself.
To be fair, most of Low's CDs leave their listeners only partially won over (some tracks appeal instantly, whilst others just don't resonate with people) but for me, 'Christmas' captures the essence and spirit (and I guess, spirituality) of Low at their absolute best on every single track here - vocal perfection, stark, austere instrumentation, and that special sound (shared in spirit, with the likes of Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, Jesus & Mary Chain, Big Star, Joy Division, Brian Wilson and Phil Spector) that hits you in the head and the heart. Put it this way: any Christmas LP that you want to play (and which still sounds good) in August is got to be worth having. And I've had this for a few years now too...
Low compose half this release- the gorgeous Just Like Christmas (Sunday Morning meets the Carpenters in heaven); Long Way Around the Sea (as sparse as Starfire); Alan stays on vocals for If You Were Born Today with its heartfelt "Joy to the world" & the final track One Special Gift (a sense of foreboding when this one ends). The remaining songs are well known Xmas songs- the version of Little Drummer Boy recalls My Bloody Valentine's Glider, while the cover of Elvis's Blue Christmas is as great as Cowboy Junkies Blue Moon Revisted (on the classic Trinity Sessions album). Silent Night recalls the sparse acoustics of Nick Drake and Robert Wyatt, Mimi & Alan's voices coming together (recall The Smiths's Asleep- an ode to suicide ends with this tune also). The final track is Taking Down the Tree, which evokes the happysad emotions of Xmas and the sense that the seasons move on regardless: "seems before it's over it's begun".
Low's Christmas is an album that HAS to be owned at this price and one of those releases you will be guaranteed to come back to at least once a year. Divine stuff...
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