Christmas themed EP that delivered not just Christmas cheer
Covering tracks is never an easy thing. You either stick close to the original source and get criticised for playing it safe, or you veer so far away from the original that you can get accused of blasphemy. John Whiles pitches himself somewhere in the middle. There is enough of a baritone croon going on to keep the purists happy, but the inflection separates it from the original. There is a slightly sardonic and sarcastic inflection that gives an old song new meaning. It’s the perfect way to get this EP going.
Another Disappointing Christmas however is the main event. Opening with a simple piano/organ riff, with Whiles’ voice layered to sound like a choir, however at halfway through the vocals start to merge and glitch and the tracks takes an unexpected turn. A massive beat kicks in and you have something that could never be called a Christmas song. Imagine Aphex Twin remixing Radiohead.
Winter is Blue is another cover, this time by reclusive folk artist Vashti Bunyan. Bunyan’s tracks have a distinctive feel, due to her voice and the guitar playing. Whiles does a great job making it his own, but never leaving the charm of the original. Last up is another original Ring Out Wild Bells. This track is chocked full of longing, hope and festive cheer.
Overall this EP is possible the best collection of new, and old, Christmas songs I’ve heard in a long time. The original compositions sit effortlessly with the covers. This is Christmas music with a twist. Its reminds me of watching Tales of the Unexpected on Christmas Eve with my parents. Things look normal, but under the surface things everything is slightly skewed. John Whiles is defintly one to watch going into the new year.
Now for the second installment of an alternative 12 Days of Christmas