CD: Cerys Matthews - Baby, It's Cold Outside | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Cerys Matthews - Baby, It's Cold Outside
A many-flavoured Christmas album you can play to children without suffering aural indigestion
An album full of tunes you’ve been hearing all your life needs to be adept at reinvention. Cerys Matthews has already proved that she has a gift for repackaging the familiar in her enchanting Tir, which anthologises much loved Welsh folk songs and hymns. But then in that intoxicating voice, which breathily suggests both sweetness and transgression, she has just the instrument for sprinkling a fresh coat of fairy dust over, in this case, children’s carols.
The pleasure of Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Christmas Classics from Cerys Matthews is also partly in the arrangements. There’s a distinct tinge of bluegrass to “Jingle Bells” and a Hispanic flavouring to “Little Donkey”, while “While Shepherds Watch Their Flock” is delivered to the jaunty parping of a Teutonic street organ. Surprise instruments listed include oud, kora and zither, and Matthews herself on flute and kazoo. As for the lush harmonising, the likes of “Ding Dong Merrily on High” typify her pursuit of fresh musical textures.
For fans of Matthews’ Welsh-language singing, there’s “Y Darlun” (The Picture), with shaky whistling, but she also breaks into German in “O Tennenbaum”, and “Silent Night” is delivered in English, Spanish and German. The title track of course features another outing for Matthews’ flirtatious duet with Tom Jones on the Frank Loesser standard. Its ramped-up production values are heavily out of step with the rest of an album positioning the singer as matronly enchantress. Few of the tracks exceed three minutes, and several come in under two. This is a Christmas album you can play to children without suffering aural indigestion.
Cerys Matthews and Tom Jones perform 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Not so crazy after all these years
From Afrobeat to psychedelia, from electronica to guitar pop, it's all here on plastic
As grime enters its mature phase, what contribution can Manchester make?
Literate Canadians bond with the audience to inspire a sing-along
After seven years away, the synth-pop return of a great Scottish songwriter
Despite an ill-balanced sound, the Mancunian orchestral/house music mash-up kicks off
The ABC mastermind on how he got his mojo back and finally made 'The Lexicon of Love II'
Richard Fearless returns with a minimalist electronica masterpiece
The latest eclectic global radio show starring Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose
Snazzy but fans-only 20th-anniversary reissue of ‘Everything Must Go’
Restless experimentalist creates sublimely novel electro-acoustic blend
Festival curator delivers her personal mix of contemplative electronica