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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£14.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 11 December 2002
I first heard Just Like Christmas on Marc&Lard's Radio 1 show in the late 1990's- this lead me to this divine e.p. (and albums like Secret Name, which features such mindblowing songs as Two Step & Immune). This is the album to play after Phil Spector's collection, Jesus Christ by Big Star, Last Dance by The Cure & Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (feel I've forgotten an American Music Club song...)- a reminder that Xmas can be a heartbreaking time: how it never measures up to the memory of those that have passed, how it is set in the darkest winter, how the seasonal affects, how people come together over the barcode rather than out of common decency,how archaic notions such as faith appear somewhat absurd in a world where people are going to be turned to mincemeat in the New Year over oil , how many people commit suicide etc (god, I'm sounding like Ingmar Bergman after listening to the Joy Division boxset). Well, this is the ideal music for all that (and more...)
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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on 8 October 2003
You know, do you ever feel at Christmas times, that you are deeply unhappy with how things are, and you long for a nostalgic glimpse at when Christmas meant something to people?
Please buy this record - it has got me through the last three Christmasses, and I can foresee my reliance on it continuing for the next ten (until appocalypse).
It'll make you sad, though...
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on 24 September 2004
Oh, the pain of christmas - you can't help thinking that the music perenially droning in the shops and incessantly on Radio and TV helps to explain why Christmas is the season of the year with the highest rate of suicide.
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...
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on 22 November 2001
The concept of a Low Christmas album seems ludicrous, when you consider the Minnesota three's down-beat approach and usually dismal subject matter. Almost the complete antithesis of the accepted notion of 'Christmas spirit'. But it is precisely this factor that makes Christmas work.
The majority of non-traditional Christmas albums are released by saccharine-coated pop acts. The result is usually a combination of the sickly sweet pop style with a few jingle bells thrown in to add that wintery feel. Low take the same approach to combining styles, but their own is so quiet - almost hymnal - that when embellished by the jingles and chimes of some seasonal bells, the end result is not so much fusion as traditional. Little Drummer Boy has a choral arrangement combined with fuzz guitars to offer something completely familiar, yet strangely unique. Long Way Around the Sea, a Low composition, has their stamp all over it, yet is as beautiful and traditional-sounding a carol as Silent Night.
Tongue in cheek? Perhaps - but Low manage to evoke a truer sense of Christmas spirit than James Brown, Mariah Carey, Phil Spector or any other 'pop' act ever seems to have. Now surely that's worth a sixpence in their stocking.
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on 15 November 2006
Even my mum was bowled over by the beauty of the tracks on this albumn - it has been the back drop to some of the most wonderful Christmas days we have ever had. If you ever wanted 'something more' out of Christmas, then put this on once you're full up of turkey and pudding.
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on 11 January 2011
Nobody does downbeat quite like Low. Little Drummer Boy sounds like you're listening to it from the depths of a ketamine-induced trance, while the drawn-out glassy vocals of Blue Christmas appear to belong to some forgotten David Lynch movie soundtrack. These spaced-out, slightly chilly tracks are too bleak to be to everyone's taste, but they represent the perfect antidote to anyone who has spent the past four hours pushing through crowds of shoppers to the strains of Wizzard and Slade.

However, for anyone who feels the need for a little seasonal joy, the opening track, Just Like Christmas, is a sparkling gem, full of tinkling notes and heart-achingly sweet lyrics. One of the best Christmas songs by anyone, ever, and it alone justifies an extra star.
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on 24 December 2007
Christmas again - what better time to review Low's superb festive album which portrays a more common Christmas experience for many than the forced jollity of your Slade or Wizzard mega-hit.

This eight-track CD is a beauty. Four original Low songs show great variety - from the pure pop of `Just Like Christmas' with its sleigh bells ringing to the hauntingly spiritual telling of the Nativity in `Long Way Around the Sea'.

The cover versions of old (roast) chestnuts are simply inspired. `Silent Night' has wonderfully simple acoustic arrangement whilst `Little Drummer Boy' has never sounded like this before. It is drenched in guitar reverb and feedback a la My Bloody Valentine but is incredibly moving.

`Christmas' obviously has special resonance at this time of year but the CD can be enjoyed as much in July as December. It is by turns melancholy, thoughtful, reflective and beautiful. Can you ask for more for Christmas?
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on 7 December 2001
If you don't wish it could be Christmas everyday, then this is the album for you. Although the standout track has to be "Just like Christmas" strong support is offered by the rest of the album. Notably form the slightly eerie "Long way round the sea " and the almost choral "Little drummer boy". Some may find the sound of the album a little downbeat, but I think its highly atmospheric evoking fond memories of Christmas's past. To me this album feels like coming in from playing in the snow all morning to a warm fire and Christmas dinner with family and friends. Herein lies the albums only flaw, you're only gonna be able to play this CD at Christmas, at any other time it sounds all wrong. Saying that, if I didn't already have it would be high on my Christmas list.
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on 23 November 2014
Great album and Just Like Christmas is my favourite Christmas song I should know every year I create a playlist or CD for my friends instead of Christmas cards.
I've been doing this for ten years, so I'm constantly on the lookout for cool new Christmas songs. This album has given me a number of top tunes for the playlists as each CD contains Indie Xmas songs.
I've now compiled the playlists into a blog. To see the playlists from previous years check http://xmassongblog.blogspot.co.uk/
Or follow @xmassongblog to hear new the coolest alternative xmas songs when they are released.
but what I really need is new songs so f you can recommend any good Christmas music tweet me or email me xmassongblog@outlook.com.
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on 15 February 2011
This album is so beautiful that I find it hard not to listen to it all year round. If you get sick of hearing all the regular Christmas songs then this is the perfect antidote, gorgeous vocals with sweet lyrics that completely capture Christmas in such an incredibly delicate yet powerful way.
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