Wall Of Sound, and more specifically its off-shoot label We Love You, have been responsible for breaking a fair amount of groups over the last couple of years, such as The Bees, Röyksopp and I Am Kloot. For the last few years, they’ve released strictly limited edition double A sided Christmas singles on 7″ vinyl, which have become collectors items.
We Love Yule sees all those singles collected for the first time on CD, presumably much to the chagrin of eBay dealers everywhere. It pulls together all the previously released Christmas singles and adds some brand new exclusive tracks to present an attractive alternative to buying yet another Christmas compilation album featuring the likes of Slade and Wizzard.
Of course the cynical amongst you will have already figured this out as a rather cutesy marketing ploy by Wall Of Sound to raise awareness of their label’s roster, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, if hardcore fans of The Bees or Röyksopp buy this and discover artists who they may never have heard of otherwise, then so much the better.
It’s certainly a varied listen, with traditional Christmas fare such as the opening Winter Wonderland mixing with rather more, shall we say, unusual titles (I’ll Be Fucking You This Christmas, anyone?) and it’s this eclectic selection that stops the album from falling into the usual festive trap of becoming too sugary sweet.
The aforementioned Winter Wonderland is given the ambient treatment by the chill-out duo of Bent, but it’s Cathy Davey‘s beautiful guest vocals that really make the song. Her voice is a beguiling mix of Cerys Matthews and Tanya Donelly and will leave newcomers eager to check out her rather overlooked debut album Something Ilk.
Röyksopp too scatter their usual brand of melancholic magic over the brief instrumental Tristesse Globale, yet it’s not all ambient chill out electronica here. Diefenbach deal in straightforward guitar rock, but unfortunately their contribution of Christmas Mourning is one of the least memorable here. I Am Kloot fare rather better with Sunlight Hits The Snow, John Bramwell’s distinctive Mancunian vocals giving the song a very individual personality.
Of the lesser known acts, Paul Steele relies rather too heavily on Brian Wilson for his Making Sense Of Christmas, while the multi-instrumentalist behind the Ping Pong Orchestra, Shawn Lee, produces the best title here with I’ll Be Fucking You This Christmas. The song has an epic sweep and a melody that will have you singing enough – which could prove embarrassing if your granny’s coming along for Christmas dinner.
Lee also pops up right at the end of the record with an unbilled version of Prince‘s sublime Sometimes It Snows In April, which is a rather marvellous way to round off the album. None of these tracks may be being played in twenty years time but if you’re sick of the usual festive fare over the holiday season, We Love Yule is well worth investigating.