Releasing a Christmas album means standing up against some of the best known and most played popular music written, offering a spin that will inspire more smiles than cringes — the stakes are weirdly high. Though, that didn’t stop Les Savy Fav’s Syd Butler and Seth Jabour, nor Butler’s partner Amy Carlson, from forming Office Romance and releasing a Christmas EP aptly titled, I Love the Holidays.
Rather than taking shots at staples like “Frosty the Snowman”, Office Romance carved out three original holiday songs, which wrap up this seasonal package. The first two feature contributing vocals from indie pop/rock singer Alex Winston and he joins a good party. From references to silver bells and coming home, to the sounds of Spector-esque sleigh bells and vaguely maudlin piano, I Love the Holidays is well aware of its place right in the middle of the cannon.
There’s a pleasant sense of faux innocence that bubbles up, which isn’t rare for indie acts tackling holiday covers in recent years (think Hurricane Bells’ 2010 cover of “Christmas Don’t Be Late”). “Twinkling Lights”, for example, evokes twee YouTube duo Pomplamoose, who soundtracked last year’s Hyundai holiday commercials with their plinking toy pianos and tiny xylophones. This works for the EP because it creates a pleasant lightness.
Later, the title track’s jangly bounce sets a tone for what will be a mostly upbeat, cheery eight or so minutes, detouring slightly with the down tempo middle track, “Holidays Aren’t The Same Without You”. The song is yet another nod to the genre and it wouldn’t be a Christmas album without a little melancholy.
Essential Tracks: “Twinkling Lights”