Here’s some Christmas for you then, Cassie Ramone off of out of The Vivian Girls has made a sweet little Christmas album. Leaving aside the traditional wisdom of not judging a book by its cover for a second, just about everything you need to know about this record is right there on the cover – Cassie and her guitar, sat next to a christmas tree, captured in a fairly low quality snapshot. This is not a full sleigh bells and whistles sonic feast, it’s more like your talented friend sat in her room and recorded a bunch of xmas songs to tape and gave them to her mates ‘cos she’s broke this year. How much you’re going to enjoy this depends to an extent on charmed you’re prepared to be by that. If you heard Liz ‘Grouper’ Harris’ new fuzz pop trio Helen’s album this year (you should, it’s good) imagine her in that mood recording some seasonal numbers for fun, that’s kind of the sound here. She goes for the prize from the start with Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas (baby please come home)’ which is almost cetainly the best song on the best christmas album ever made and, as such, is usually subjected to lacklustre reimagining verging on the flat out terrible. This is usually down to a failure to match Spector’s joyful production, Arab Strap made a decent version by stripping it right back and slowing it down and while not quite so slow it works here too for Ramone, her voice searching for the notes early on but ultimately she wins through and that’s no mean feat in my book.
Cassie basically strums through the tunes with a moderate amount of effects on her voice and guitar paying only the slightest regard to the more familiar versions. Again, how much you’re going to enjoy that may vary and it works better for some things than others. Her take on ‘Run Run Rudolph’ here shows the general approach, despite the ticking drum machine it abandons the rhythmic chug of Chuck Berry for a shoegazey, high end flow of entwined guitar and voice. The layered chorus of voices is a closer fit to The Beach Boys ‘Little Saint Nick’ but again the underlying rock ‘n’ roll bones of it are missing. both of these tunes are up on soundcloud for you to check out and free to download should you fancy. It’s a totally indie christmas but I’m enjoying it myself, she closes out with a sweet version of ‘The Christmas Song’ and who doesn’t like that?