fri 14/06/2024

Album: Chris Isaak - Everybody Knows It's Christmas | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Chris Isaak - Everybody Knows It's Christmas

Album: Chris Isaak - Everybody Knows It's Christmas

Gorgeous country-swing festivities, Lynchian undercurrents optional

There’s only one problem with this album, really – if you can call it a problem – and that’s Chris Isaak’s indelible hint of David Lynch.

Thanks to his “Wicked Game” being an integral part of Wild at Heart and creating an ongoing relationship between the singer and director, it’s hard to hear Isaak’s voice without thinking that something deeply disturbing is lurking just beneath the surface of his songs.

That makes for a peculiar frisson, because for his Christmas album, Isaak has gone for all-out simple sweetness. He’s always played his rockabilly-country-swing pretty straight anyway, but aside from crisp production values this could have really been made any time in the past 60-odd years.  

He’s gone the whole hog with the classics: “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, “I Believe in Santa Claus”, “Jingle Bell Rock” are all crooned charmingly. And impressively his own compositions dovetail seamlessly – “Christmas Comes but Once a Year” and “Wrapping Presents for Myself” are the kind of deceptively simple ditties that Hank Williams would have been pleased with, and “Dogs Love Christmas Too”, though cheesier still, is hugely charming. There are sleighbells, there’s jaunty swing, there’s twang galore, and everything is done without the ladled-on postmodern knowing-ness that makes, say, Michael Bublé so grating on this kind of thing. 

It’s possible to ignore the Lynchian connection, of course. Put out of your mind that eerie transmogrifications and unexplained murders are figuratively taking place in the next room, and this is just a delightful record – one to sling on at any family occasion. But maybe that’s what makes it really great: you can stick it on without saying who it is, and enjoy the festive atmosphere, while keeping the sublimated surrealist psychological horror to yourself.

@joemuggs

 

This could have really been made any time in the past 60-odd years

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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