Friday, December 21, 2012

"Through Your Eyes at Christmas Eve" by Abney Park: An Album Review

Given it's that twinkly-light, holly-edged time of year, I figured I'd do a little Christmas-y review.  Pour yourself a little rum toddy, and settle in.

my cd of Abney Park's Christmas album, "Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve", has arrived in the post, well, that's just handy! 
(If you want to make your own decisions, it can be purchased here.)  I had listened to their sampler (found at the link above) and decided to order the album.

So I extracted the CD from it's beautiful package (Abney Park does know how to make lovely album covers!), and listened to it for the first time.  Twice, in fact. 
Unfortunately, I have to confess I'm a little underwhelmed by this album.  (Please don't hit or boo me!)  I have thoroughly enjoyed much of Abney Park over the years, and truly love a lot of their songs.  However, they don't really add anything to any of the Christmas songs they covered, to make them theirs.  Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan will remain the definitive version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" for me - Captain Robert's only addition to the song is the highly entertaining addition of the word "Rum" at a key moment - very funny, but not enough to save the song.  

On the good side, Abney Park does pull off some lovely and very different instrumentals in their pieces (with the exception of Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, where the second half is marred by an annoying DJ-disc-spinning element).  However, their singers lack good clear voices for Christmas songs - they either come across as too monotone (sorry Captain) or too rough (particularly in the case of his female singer).

If, however, you can get your hands on one song, The title song, "Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve", is an excellent piece, and an original, which suggests to me that Abney Park is far better off writing their own songs, where they clearly know their strengths and talents, versus doing covers.  The only cover they pull off decently is Winter Wonderland, where they add interesting instrumental elements, and Robert's low voice seems to blend better.

So on the whole, this album wasn't exactly a glowing success, but neverless I am happy to add it to my collection (the album art alone makes it a lovely addition to my shelf), and, by buying it, to have done my part to support a band whom I generally wholeheartedly enjoy.  

Maybe they should just steer clear of the treacherous skies of Christmas.

Cheers all!  

The Steam Wench