Various Artists - The Matinée Holiday Soirée EP

TC 23/12/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

Tis the season to be jolly apparently and there's been the usual flurry of lazy and rather irritating Christmas songs emerging, to provide stocking fillers funding those that least need it. Somewhat cynical I guess, but trying to locate credibility amongst the seasonal musical fare isn't an easy task.

So it's refreshing to report on a smashing little EP from those nice folk over at Matinée. Renowned for their stable of sugary popites, it is somehow appropriate, at a time of over indulgence, that they should provide us with a festive treat from a handful of the crew. The Holiday Soirée houses five enjoyable excursions and all specially recorded for the set. Starting off with Math And Physics Club and a typically wistful number on the back of the wondrous album they released earlier in the year. Next is Northern Portrait, one of my personal big-em-up bands, whose debut album has been around now for almost a year and, sadly, nobody other than me, has been raving about. Anyhow, here we have another dose of Smiths-esque sweet and sour banter, possibly in the interests of saving rain forests, as it's called “Leave The Trees Alone”.

Perhaps the best of the bunch here is Strawberry Whiplash with “Santa Needs A Holday” and if you like your shoegazing to be a less bloody valentine, these are able protagonists. Track four comes from Champagne Riot, new to the stable, with 'Xmas Safari', a dreamy swirl of a tune to get lost in. Finally, some Scots pop from Bubblegum Lemonade and the splendidly uplifting suzzed-up “White Noise Christmas”, rounding off an exuberant and strangely enjoyable set and providing another great showcase for the label's talent.

Ding dong merrily on high indeed.