Strange Communion (2009) may not be an according-to-Hoyle Christmas album, but it’s a great album for the season.
The album has a few songs specifically about Christmas, but the whole album is definitely winter-themed and the kind of thing you can really dig into when the weather cools off and it’s dark before six p.m.
I think it was Simon Phipps that recommended Thea Gilmore to me a number of years ago over Twitter. Great recommendation, I must say.
“That’ll Be Christmas” should be a standard. It’s a perfect little pop tune that’ll stick with you for days after just one listen.
“Listen the Snow is Falling” is a cover of the B-side to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over).” This cover is much more intimate, and you can practically feel the crisp air and snowflakes landing on your face.
I nearly get sensory overload listening to “December in New York.” When the song swells with Gilmore’s voice and strings at the same time, I leave the world behind for a bit.
“Book of Christmas” is probably the only song on the album that I’d skip on heavy rotation. The spoken word delivery and instrumentals don’t seem to fit with the rest of the album. It’s not terrible, but in the light of the other tracks it’s a weak entry.
Happily, “Old December” puts us back on track, and there’s a cheerier and poppier mix of “That’ll be Christmas” bonus track to wrap up the disc.
Strange Communion is another annual tradition for me. Give it a listen or three, you might want to add it to your Christmas rotation too.