Thursday, December 11, 2014
28 Days of Christmas: Los Campesinos! - "When Christmas Comes" + The Rest of Their Christmas EP
Just when I thought my year end list was safe from the standard "Los Campesinos! late-year surprise release," they go ahead and drop a Christmas EP out of nowhere. Fortunately, it cannot compete for a coveted spot on my year end list because this compiles all the Xmas tracks they've dropped over the last few years in addition to offering up some new ones. "When Christmas Comes" is one of the new ones, and what more could you want? It's pure bliss! What I love about this EP is that it captures the melancholy that so many Christmas songs ignore. Melancholy is a HUGE part of Christmas, especially when you're heartbroken. It's been a while since I've had a heartbroken Christmas, but these songs take me back to those harrowing holiday seasons, dredging up ex-girlfriends of Christmas Past. It's wonderful! Though I'm happily married, I share an affinity with Gareth Campesinos for writing about broken relationships, and boy oh boy the wallowing doesn't get any more wallowinger than at the yuletide. At the yuletide? During the yuletide? How do you even...
"A Doe to a Deer" is probably my favorite cut from the new record. Probably because it's the wallowingest. This is one of their older Christmas tracks, and fortunately the older tracks have been re-recorded and given the lush arrangements of their latest albums. "A Doe to a Deer" benefits significantly, as the original recording feels more like a demoed sketch hastily recorded and cast out into the world. This is the real deal, and morose lines like "I’m Christmas morning stumbling home up the cul-de-sac/ flanked by kids upon new bikes, stabilizing my walk back" get their proper weight.
"Kindle the Flame in Her Heart" is another great one.
Oh, and we can't forget about their cover of Mud's "Lonely This Christmas" which wallows in these warm-yet-jagged synth pads and is the earwormiest of the bunch. Loving this band feels like riding the highest wave. They continue living up to and surpassing my expectations year after year and I'm wondering if and when that glorious wave is going to come crashing down. Hopefully never!