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Friday, November 25, 2011

"Snow Covered", Christmas with The Very Most

Snow Covered

I've decided to start a new section of the blod devoted to EP reviews, so I was looking for a quite special record to start with. The great occasion appeared this week, courtesy of the gentle Jeremy Jensen, leader of blog's favourite The Very Most. The Boise indie-pop masters are back with a very special release, a four-song Christmas EP, out in December 3rd, something quite usual in US, a tradition, but rare to find outside the States.

When Jeremy invited me to hear it, I was a bit reluctant. Hey, unlike him (it's not the first time The Very Most do that sort of seasonal songs), I'm not big on Christmas, even less in Christmas music, which in my opinion tends to be really predictable, shamefully sappy and bland. So I didn't want to hear something I knew I thought I wouldn't like in advance from a band I really love. Silly me, soon I was going to realise I was completely wrong. Four reasons prove it.

First, and as the title says, because this EP is a collection of covers. But not the usual ones that have been endlessly covered just for the sake of Christmas. The Beach Boys, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Vashti Bunyan and Twice as Much and The Wombles. Cool line-up of bands, isn't it? Even the fake, furry creatures of the Wombles are lovely.

Second, because these songs feature guest appearances by Duglas T. Stewart of Scottish band BMX Bandits (did I need to say he is a pop genius?) and Mel Whittle (also on Baffin Island) from the great Glaswegian band The Hermit Crabs  (who really have to make a new album soon, we miss them so much) among other names that will make me surf the internet in the next days to know more about. 

Third, of course, because of the music. EP's opener "Wombling Merry Christmas" (original by The Wombles) is, plain simple, a fantastic indie-pop gem. The more I listen it, the more it makes me think on Belle and Sebastian lushness meeting The Very Most gift to create something wonderful. "Little Saint Nick" (The Beach Boys) of course devotes its sound to the legendary band, but despite being the more predictable of the lot, and if you allow me the sacrilege, I prefer this version, thanks to Rachael Jensen's charming voice. The third track, "The Coldest Night of the Year" (Vashti Bunyan and Twice as Much), was already a fine tune (always Vashti's amazing voice), but adapted to the male-female duet acquires a new, refreshing and warm dimension. And finally, "Christmas Eve" (Gorky's Zygotic Mynci), is an enchanting, rich and atmospheric tune, with its constrained epic sound resonating in your ears long after the track has ended.  

Need a four reason? Half of the proceeds of the EP (they collected the funds through a Kickstarter campaign)  goes to the Idaho Foodbank. So, now that you know the reasons, you should be running to grab your copy of "Snow Covered".

Thanks Jeremy! Thanks The Very Most!

SCORE: 7,5/10

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