The streets are alive with the hustle and bustle of the seasonal fayre, shoppers max out credit cards in a bid to secure that all elusive last minute gift for granny, employees rustle around in the back of wardrobes for the discarded novelty jumper, yes it’s that time of year again!
Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without a seasonal tune or two, dropping on the virtual doormat, years ago I’d approach with trepidation perhaps even dread, but that was all before husband and wife team, Pete Adams and Rosie Green, decided to celebrate their nuptials by recording a seasonal album back in 2018, released to critical acclaim. Since then the duo have delivered a festive musical feast annually, and 2021, despite all the upheaval is no different as the couple cosied up at Sound Terrace Studios with producer Sam Thomas to pay homage to ‘myths, legends and folklore surrounding the best day of the year’.
Christmas Eve, the EP, is the perfect appetiser for the big day, bookended by a couple of intoxicating spoken word affairs, a hint of Mr Adams indie ‘day job’ and Rosie’s sumptuous vocals, the pairs latest release proves the old age term ‘good things come in small packages’ in this case a fifteen minute (or so) package.
Opening with an infectious Adams riff, The Oxen, a Thomas Hardy poem, is given a unique makeover, as Pete delivers choppy six-string support to Michael Head (Rosie’s dad) captivating vocal rendition, whilst chimes and glittery keys provide further seasoning drawing the listener in.
Having already drawn the attention, The Singers continues the magic, opening with a delicate piano melody and pattered percussion, Rosie delivers a beautiful folky lead, accompanied by a subtle chug of guitar and Pete’s hushed harmonies, together summoning up visions of doorstep choirs, crackling fires and winter landscapes.
Talking of wintery landscapes, The Snowfall follows and could be the first recorded example of a modern indie Christmas indie hymn. Now I know that sounds a little odd, but you could imagine the vocals being worked on in assembly or by a choir running through the scales, whilst instrumentally there’s an omni-present indie chug and a hint of keys that could sort of hark back to Pete’s days in AWWBLOT, maybe it’s just me, either way it’s a glorious clash of styles.
The penultimate number, The Bellows sees Pete and Rosie return to folkier roots, with Adams taking the lead vocal and Rosie adding infectious, lifting choral coos over stripped back acoustic guitar, delivering a delicious, yet darkened slice of folklore, suggesting there’s more to the seasonal holidays than kissing santa underneath the mistletoe.
The five-track affair is rounded off with by a brilliant reading of A Night Before Christmas by Mark Charles Adams (also known as Pete’s brother), that sees the narrator’s tale backed by a lone piano, a somewhat lulling and tranquil way to draw the curtains on Christmas Eve and yet another spellbinding, seasonal release by Pete With Rosie.
Will Munn – Rhythm & Booze