Various Artists - Alternative Christmas (4 stars)

Various Artists - Alternative Christmas

(Avalanche Records)

Anticipating the annual landslide of pap music that descends round about Jesus’ birthday, and inspired by the Saddle Creek Christmas album, Avalanche Records commissioned a non-rubbish collection of Christmas songs, with no child choirs or festive raps anywhere to be found.

Local indie and folk darlings were enlisted, and Meursault, Withered Hand, Broken Records and Zoey Van Goey are among the artists who donated specially recorded tracks. Fence’s Pictish Trail drops a catchy chorus of ‘hallelujahs’, backed by gentle guitars and soft electronica; Zoey Van Goey pay tribute to the title of Twilight Sad’s debut EP, on ‘In Scotland it Never Snowed, In Canada it Did’, and Ballboy’s Gordon MacIntyre collaborates with Maja Mangard on the awesomely quirky spoken-word musing, ‘Atoms’. The 80s electro and vocoder singalong of X-Lion Tamer’s exhilarating, yet deliberately un-festive ‘Little Drum Machine Boy’ is another highlight.

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