Paul’s Choice: When The Thames Froze – Smith & Burrows (2011)
In 2011 Razorlight’s Andy Burrows and Tom Smith of Editors got together to record Funny Looking Angels. It’s a decidedly odd festive album as some of the songs only have tenuous links to the festive season (including covers of Only You and Wonderful Life).
As unusual as it is, I still love these track – none more so than the single released to promote the album, When The Thames Froze. The title refers to the famous Frost Fairs on the frozen Thames. the last of which happened in 1814. You may remember it featured in Doctor Who last year (in the episode Thin Ice).
On the first listen, it seems quite a slow, melancholic tune, lamenting the advance of time and better times left behind in the past. But upon repeated playings, When The Thames Froze is actually a toast to a hope-filled future with lyrics which call on the listener to keep the spirit of Christmas Day alive when the day has long passed.
If you’re looking for something a little more thoughtful and quirky, I can’t recommend this album and single enough. What a shame Smith & Burrows have never worked on a project since.
Simon’s Choice: This Fucking Time Of Year – Charles Cave (2015)
Charles Cave’s (bassist and songwriter of post-punk band White Lies) brilliant single This Fucking Time Of Year is the perfect antidote to the constant bombardment of Christmas Songs we hear everywhere we go at this time of year. It bounces along with a driving uplifting beat but the lyrics speak of someone separated and in confusion of the future. I love this song and have had it on repeat since it came out back in 2015, it reminds me that it’s ok not to be ecstatically happy over Christmas when I’m feeling a little exhausted with the ‘forced jollity’ of the season.
It’s a real turn the collar up on your jacket to protect against the cold wind on the walk back from the pub, headphones turned up loud and lamenting someone lost, be it a lover, family member or friend. Anyone who enjoys a good synth sound with beautiful melancholy but somehow uplifting lyrics I strongly urge you to check out Charles Cave’s solo single releases. The word is from the man himself on Twitter that we may be treated to a full-length album next year. Can’t wait!