Winterval - At Christmas Time

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2016-12-22

The glut of reality show winners seemed to kill off the appetite for Christmas songs, with only a few bothering to keep the torch aglow. Now, every band and his dog are going at it, but with few songs seeming to resonate the way the “classics” do. Winterval, an unsigned, one-man band from Birmingham has decided to have his own crack at the tradition.

Beginning with festive chimes, the sound you most associate with this time of year are littered across the album - this isn’t some sort of punkish or experimental take on the tradition.

There is however, a sense of a more baroque-pop sound to Winterval. Vocals are somewhat muffled in quality by the effects in use, but given that his music is recorded in his bedroom and not a spacious recording studio, you can forgive this much.

‘A Long Day’ taken out of context of this wintry album might not seem to be in the spirit of Christmas, but the sweet melody revolves around highlighting a sense of loneliness, one which must surely be real for many people. ‘It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas’ plays more on your nostalgic senses, with an organ juttering away in the background and the bells and horns ringing out.

There are folkier edges to some tracks, including ‘Hang The Lights On The Tree’ and ‘Puffy’s Song’, and a fuzzier feel to the reeling off of countries on ‘I’m Santa Claus’. While all these tracks swirl with an undercurrent of “the season”, few songs will smash their way onto your current playlist - with one exception: ‘Christmas Every Day’, bringing with it the kind of warm cheer you don’t often find in the indie covers collections.

A proper album of wholly original Christmas songs is a pretty impressive feat for one, unsigned, musician. There are bound to be plenty of band trying to cash in on the jumpers and covers, but maybe this will begin to set things right, with more original Christmas songs in future years.

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