Album Review | Gentle Thread | Review by Allan Wilkinson
If Ken Burns was to make a documentary series about Christmas, this would be the soundtrack. Seasonal songs in a minor key to old black and white photographs, highly melodic classics for people who don’t necessarily like Christmas perhaps. I have to say though, I do like Christmas and I love this as well. The opener is possibly the first rendition of “Silent Night” that has reached my ears that wouldn’t be out of place in the TV series World at War, just at the point where Laurence Oliver narrates over footage of the invasion of Poland.
The fifteen selections stretch over a broad canvas, from old favourites such as “We Three Kings”, “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Good King Wenceslas” to seasonal pop staples such as “Last Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas”, the album highlight and only original song here being “The Banister Bough”, which features a guest vocal from Feist, who also appears with Jarvis Cocker dueting on “Snow is Falling in Manhattan”. On both this and “In the Bleak Midwinter”, Jarvis channels late period Leonard Cohen, complete with deeply enunciated wisdom. If all this sounds as bleak as the bleak midwinter itself, then “Jingle Bells” comes along to embellish any Buster Keaton scene you care to mention. If I make all this appear to fit in with a general movie soundtrack theme, then that’s because it sounds like one. For this year in particular, I see no reason why this shouldn’t make a perfect soundtrack to your imminent holiday period madness. Good health.