When to start listening to Christmas music? I favour the 25th of November (a month before Christmas) but for some people, even the 25th of December is too soon. So, how do you feel about 23rd October? Far too early, surely! Not for the Better Noise Music label who chose to release their first ever Christmas compilation album before the end of October: ten different artists from their roster offer a mix of Christmas classics and original songs with some cracking cover tunes thrown in for good measure. (See Moshville Times’ post from October for details from their press release).
Christmas With Better Noise Music may be the label’s first Christmas compilation but I hope it is not their last. There is something to like about every song… and something to love about many of them!
The opening track is “Christmas Song” by Escape The Fate a jolly bouncy introduction to the album that put me in a good mood straightaway. Wikipedia describes the band as “post-hardcore, hard rock, metalcore, screamo [and] emo”. I’m not sure I even know what “screamo” is, but to me it screams punk pop and, although that is not a go-to genre for me, this track will definitely find a regular place on my Christmas playlist. The official lyric video is included at the end of this review.
Next up, with a complete change of style, is Cory Marks with “Jingle My Bells”. (Oo, er, missus!) A big fat slice of country rock that is full of festive fun! It even features a bit of festive fiddling… and who can say no to some festive fiddling?
There is another change of gears with the third track as All Good Things offer up “Are You Coming Home (Silent Night)”, an overwrought power ballad complete with children’s choir singing “Silent Night”! Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but I love it.
I’ll resist the temptation to review every track but will highlight another favourite of mine before a final comment; “We Three Kings” by Bang Bang Romeo, which features beautiful vocals along with an interesting beat, clanging bells and some meaty guitars.
Final comment: the elephant in the album has to be addressed. I approached the last track with some concern. Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts have tackled Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”. Alarm bells started ringing as soon as I saw the title. Slade’s classic is probably my favourite festive song and is certainly the most played Christmas track in my iTunes account. A few artists have attempted to cover it before and most fall short, some disastrously so (Yes, I’m looking at you, Steps!). Thankfully, this rendition falls into the “actually… that’s rather good” category. They have not gone for a slavish copy of Slade but have given the song a nice twist or two without losing the charm and fun of the original. Halfway through my first listen, I decided that not only could I live with this cover but that I would even look forward to hearing it on the run up to Christmas each year. Good work, Mr Smith and your Restless chums!
- Escape The Fate – Christmas Song
- Cory Marks – Jingle My Bells
- All Good Things – Are You Coming Home (Silent Night)
- Eva Under Fire – The First Noel
- Bleeker – Silent Night
- Little Stranger- Christmas Jawn
- The Funeral Portrait – In The Bleak Midwinter
- Bang Bang Romeo – We Three Kings
- Diamante – Auld Lang Syne
- Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Merry Xmas Everybody
Describing it as “Better Music” is true but doesn’t go far enough. I’d go for “Fantastically Festive and Fun Music”. A worthy addition to anyone’s Christmas playlist.
Christmas With Better Noise Music is out now!
Better Noise Music Label: official