Laura Marling has remained a critic’s sweetheart since she came on to the new-folk scene back in 2008. Her manipulation of melody and proficient guitar playing have cemented her as a mainstay of today’s folk movement. ‘Goodbye England Covered in Snow’ is evocative of a timeless and pastoral England, quite far removed from the rubbish strewn laybys of the M25. Even if you don’t see snow this Christmas, Marling will have you convinced otherwise.
Although Stornoway recently announced they would be going their separate ways, their recognisable folk sound can still resonate in the home this Christmas. ‘Gondwanaland’ is named after an ancient land mass joining South America and Africa together. A feeling of unity certainly pervades the song, which tells of a wintry romance from a time long ago. Set to sleigh bells and atmospheric strings, this tale of love will warm hearts this Yuletide.
Christmas came early when Marika Hackman announced an EP dedicated to the season. Among its six tracks is Hackman’s own take on ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel,’ which she has transformed into a work of chilling beauty. ‘Driving Under Stars’ is a more upbeat composition — a ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ for the edgier members of the family. Marika’s EP is released 2nd December.
Opening their Christmas song with an accordion, Noah and the Whale have played their hand well with ‘Christmas Time.’ On the chorus the band are joined by none other than Laura Marling, whose vocals sweetly interweave with Charlie Fink’s. Although the song is a few years old now, its simplicity and charm will never get to feel outdated.
Historically the preserve of choirs around the country, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ has been reimagined as a delicate and magical Christmas tune by Bombay Bicycle Club. Jack Steadman’s fragile vocals hover over a base of guitars and horns which ooze with the possibility and optimism of Christmas spirit.