Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Boy Least Likely To - Christmas Special (Too Young To Die)

Right. Now that we’re finally into December, putting a Christmas album on the proverbial stereo – let alone reviewing it – feels significantly less perverse. And so to coincide with the awkward peeling-off of the first window of the Advent calendar, we’re properly allowing ourselves to reach December 24th levels of excitement at the seasonal offering from The Boy Least Likely To, third album Christmas Special.
Opener The Christmas Waltz plainly indicates that although this is every inch a Yuletide record, it’s even more unmistakeably a Boy Least Likely To record, all twinkles and folky melodies and wooden agogo. Their unique balance of twee, sentimental and entertaining is very much in attendance on Christmas Special, finished nicely with a generous dusting of snow.

And yet, it’s far from predictable. Placid 80s synths provide a fun – and highly appropriate – bed for the xylophones ‘n’ merriment of George & Andrew, a comical yet captivating tale pondering the fictional festive catch-up between messrs Michael and Ridgeley. Elsewhere, Jingle My Bells is a cheeky burst of understated merriment, and while not quite reaching Katy Perry levels of innuendo, depicts a quietly mischievous side which complements the album’s overall tone of childlike excitement.

An instrumental version of In The Bleak Midwinter and a soft, serene take on Little Donkey – not that there’d be any other way in which to tackle it – provide an agreeable nod to more traditional Christmas fare alongside the novel, more contemporary ideas.
2008 single The First Snowflake closes Christmas Special – the star on the tree, if you like – and underlines it as a lovable and substantial collection. And yes, on a basic calendar level, perhaps it’ll only have a twelfth of the shelf life of any regular album. But the amiable, timeless enchantment within suggests Christmas Special will provide a welcome festive soundtrack for decades to come.

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