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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So here it is, Merry Christmas.....
You wouldn't really expect Thea Gilmore to produce a traditional Christmas album, and true to form she delivers something which captures the mood and spirit of the season while fitting comfortably within her literate musical style.

Criminally underrated, Thea Gilmore has released a series of fabulous albums mostly of her own material. An intelligent songwriter...
Published on 4 Dec 2009 by Bungliemutt

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Lovely voice but some songs were a bit 'heavy' for everyday listening. Certainly a 'different' approach to a Christmas album.
Published on 9 Nov 2010 by Mrs. A. Gilbey


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So here it is, Merry Christmas....., 4 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
You wouldn't really expect Thea Gilmore to produce a traditional Christmas album, and true to form she delivers something which captures the mood and spirit of the season while fitting comfortably within her literate musical style.

Criminally underrated, Thea Gilmore has released a series of fabulous albums mostly of her own material. An intelligent songwriter with a sardonic slant on life, she writes in a traditional style with a keen ear for melodic hooks and is, frankly, just about the best damn songwriter this country can boast at the moment.

Strange Communion may not quite be her strongest album, but it's hard to fault. From the haunting 'Sol Invictus' to the magnificent 'Cold Coming' and the gently sad 'Drunken Angel' this is an album of varied and solid material. Not the most obvious release to have expected from Thea Gilmore, it leaves you wondering why she took so long to come up with the idea. Simply great.

I have just had the good fortune to see Thea in concert at the end of her Wintertide tour in promotion of this album. She was truly outstanding, on fine and humourous form with the audience, and her warm, slightly sad and distant voice was an absolute revelation. 'Cold Coming' in particular was amazing. When the lights dimmed, Thea's band left the stage and she sang 'Sol Invictus' unaccompanied. There was a palpable hush in the audience as deep as the snow at dead of winter that she was attempting to evoke. A standing ovation at the end of the show spoke volumes. Do yourself a favour and get hold of just about the best Christmas album you are ever likely to find. Take note Mr Zimmerman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WINTER WONDERLAND, 23 Nov 2009
By 
Boswell (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Thea is now surely one of the best singer/songwriters this country has got. Following on from her superb live album comes this masterpiece. More of a winter theme than a true christmas one the whole album is beautifully produced. Thea is now at the top of her game, her voice sounds better than it has ever done. Nige and Thea have written all but two of the tracks. "Listen The Snow Is Falling" is a Yoko Ono song and "St Stephens Day Murders" is by Elvis Costello
There's a lot of fun on this album and just enough of Thea's cynicism to keep everyones feet on the ground. Could she also have given us a new Christmas radio perennial in "That'll Be Christmas"? Thanks for the great present Thea. Here's to Faith Hope and Gluttony!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas album that I love!!!! How strange., 19 Nov 2009
By 
R. T. Myring - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Only Thea Gilmore could come along with a Christmassy cd that I would happily play on a beach in July.I'm a massive Thea fan but this album is brilliant.Her lyrics are second to none,sometimes cynical,sometimes sad,sometimes witty but always intelligent.Yes folks her songs mean something!I will play this remarkable girl aloud all over Christmas.Thanks Thea,another classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous album, 13 Dec 2009
By 
Sarah (Cheltenham GLOS UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strange Communion (MP3 Download)
I saw Thea Gilmore live in Worcester last week when she sang absolutely beautifully
then bought Strange Communion which I have played almost constantly since.
Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album for all seasons, 9 Dec 2009
By 
Adam K. "adam k" (London, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
I'm a bit of a humbug when it comes to Christmas albums, and the news that Thea had one in the pipeline filled me with trepidation.

I needn't have worried: from the very first notes of the soaring, uplifting "Sol Invictus", my heart was raised up to the ceiling and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the album. It's a joy from start to finish, both celebratory, dream-like and haunting, shot through with the undertone of Thea's signature bleak humour. From the tender and tuneful "Thea's Midwinter Toast" to the fierce and driven "Cold Coming" right up to the infuriatingly catchy "That'll Be Christmas" (which surely deserves to become an Xmas standard) and the Pogues-like "St Stephen's Day Murders", it's one great tune after another. "December in New York", complete with Fluff's achingly beautiful strings, is the best version yet (IMHO) and even the bizarre "Book of Christmas", a spoken-word piece set against a musical background that balances finely between beautiful and menacing, is great. Minor quibble? Perhaps the inclusion of an only-slightly different remix of "That'll Be Christmas" as a bonus, that proves there really is too much of a good thing and, with its jolly and infectious tune, turns into a festive earworm. "Atonement", which she dropped from the album and made available on-line, would have been a far better bonus track, in my opinion.

So, no humbug here: this is one album I'll be listening to long after the tinsel has been packed away. Thea couldn't do anything less than create a work that is filled with such engaging human emotions: hope, joy, fear, all the universals as we stand on the crumbling brink of one year and stare at the blank slate of another. No matter what your faith, buy this album and know what good music is all about.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good Christmas album?!?!?!, 23 Nov 2009
This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Went to see Thea Gilmore at the weekend, where she was playing songs from this cd. Loved the gig, and bought the cd. Now love the cd. It opens with the haunting, hymn-like Sol Invictus, and then showcases a variety of different moods and tempos. The one song I did not like initially was her "Christmas single", That'll be Christmas, but I then found myself humming the catchy melody, which is clearly the intention. I'm not a fan of Christmas songs or albums, but this is an exception. I don't think it is as good as Liejacker, but neither are 95% of the other cds in my collection. Like most of the reviewers of her releases, I don't really understand why she is not more well-known. I think I should give everyone I know a Thea Gilmore cd for Christmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly 'cheese free' Christmas Album, 18 Dec 2009
By 
Samantha Ashton (North Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Indeed, this album would stand on its own just as a fine piece of work in its own right. As a Christmas Album though, it is notably different from most other seasonal offerings and will be one that I can still enjoy whatever month I play it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative Christmas Songs, 4 Dec 2009
By 
D. Murray (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Thea is a wonderful singer-songwriter and this is an excellent antidote to the usual Christmas "cash-in" album. I would recommend this to all folk-indie-humbug listeners.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strange Communion, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
Lots of excellent compositions by a talented singer songwriter in folk acoustic genre.
A bit sombre at times but atmospheric also
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative ad beautiful, 16 Dec 2012
This review is from: Strange Communion (Audio CD)
I wasn't sure what to expect having read other reviews, but this album is really growing on me. One to keep for dark winter nights.
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