Top positive review
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So here it is, Merry Christmas.....
on 4 December 2009
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.