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Pineapple & Puddings

Christmas album review


Instagram recommends knows me so well. I'm in my 11th year of writing about new Christmas music for 60 days of the year and my feed decided I would probably like to know about Tim Gerard's and Astro Ranger's brand new holiday album, Pineapple and Puddings. They were absolutely right. I did want to know about it - so I promptly played the album and fell hard for their new/nuanced take on the festive music album. Tim and Astro Ranger are two distinct separate artists with their own styles, yet have come together to create a cohesive vision for this album - one that really does thrill the listen with a splatter of audiacious innovation and plenty of hooks that will stay with you until you dig it out next Christmas...
Expectations are subverted straight away with Silent Night starting as a traditional guitar-vocal version, lulling you into a false sense of security; the song then transforms into a rollicking rock version with some bluesy harmonica giving it an extra exuberant kick. Under The Christmas Tree is a deliciously romantic view of the season, with 50s style Andrews Sister harmonies and lilting piano riffs. It feels both timely and timeless, the type of song that would sound as great 20 years ago as it will in 20 years time. Same for the promotional single, Soulful Christmas. It is a beautifully textured track, with gospel backing vocals, a hand clap rhythm and chiming melodies of classic Christmas songs woven in - it is easily going to be your new future favourite seasonal oldie...
Gingerbread Dreams is the most enchanting piano-vocal ballad that (as if there was any doubt) showcases the breadth of talent and insight on this opus. Those resonant piano chords, Tim's emotive vocal and the gentle crescendo of the song all coalesces to become an inspiring anthem. The title track, Pineapple and Puddings, amps up the fun factor, giving you a peek at what Christmas with Tim and Astro Ranger might be like. It's a shopping list of christmas experience so relatable that you will be nodding along in melodic, emphatic agreement. Rudolph On The Run is a down'n'dirty musical adventure that opens your eyes to the reindeer shenanigans against a backdrop of cantering guitar licks and red-nose-bright bass that make you glad from head to mistletoe.
Whisky Row continues those Rudolph On The Run vibes, the type of song that you feel you could play all year round - a lilting, lolloping rock groove with seductive lyrics and a textured wall of sound so deft that it unveils something new each time you listen to it. After a brief Recipe Interlude (well worth sticking with though, a blast of exhilarating synth based Great British Bake Off - and an important lesson in how much Caribbean Rum you should add), we're straight on to the Egalitarian Labour Federation (E.L.F) featuring Andrew Bastian. Bernie Sanders would be quite proud of this song, a worker's lament on the conditions they have to navigate. It is brimming with such potential that you want to know more (so ideal for a 6 episode Netflix spin off series next year)?!
The album's coming to a close so you will probably get the Jingle Bell Blues. Don't worry - there's a song for that, the traditional carol performed in a downtown bluesy bar style, with guitar that slides as effortlessly as a deer on ice. Another New Year is a kick-up-your-heels countdown through all your daily to do lists before bringing you back to the most wonderful time of the year. A right knees up of a song. The album finishes with Twas The Night Before Christmas, an all new take on the holiday tale. Gather the family round the hearth (does anyone have a hearth anymore) and enjoy the joy and merriment for many years to come. Now go dress up like the Grinch and rob a liquor store. 


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