Free and legal MP3: Strawberry Whiplash (reverby, jangly holiday sweetness)

“Santa Needs a Holiday” – Strawberry Whiplash

Candy-coated holiday fare from the Glaswegian (that is to say, from Glasgow; but one must not miss the opportunity to use the word “Glaswegian”) duo Strawberry Lemonade, itself a syrupy-sweet side-project from Bubblegum Lemonade front man Laz McLuskey. (Call it twee if you must, but only if you must.)

Long-time Fingertips followers may remember that I don’t go crazy with the Christmas tunes in December–not because I have anything against Christmas tunes (not at all!; I love them only as much as a Christmas-music-deprived nice Jewish boy can) but because, truthfully, and alas, not much of what the genre offers year to year, new-musically-speaking, is very good. Trust me when I say I’m performing a public service by keeping most of what I hear out of your browser/inbox/hard drive/smart phone/whatever-the-hell-you-listen-to-music-in-or-on.

But this one is lovely in a jangly, lo-fi kind of way, full of melodic nostalgia and 21st-century indie-pop blurriness. Vocalist Sandra sings with a lightness befitting someone who operates resolutely without a last name, but listen closely and you’ll also hear a breathy roundness to her tone that brings (sigh) the late great Kirsty MacColl to mind. Perhaps best of all, the song traffics in its Christmasiness with graceful restraint. The one musical element that flavors the song seasonally is the descending guitar riff we hear at the end of the chorus, which smartly echoes the familiar descending bell motif delivered by any number of holiday standards.

“Santa Needs a Holiday” is found on the latest incarnation of annual holiday goodness put out by Santa Barbara-based Matinée Recordings. This year’s offering is an EP called Matinée Holiday Soiree, which also includes a song from Champagne Riot, a band featured here in 2008. MP3 via Matinée.

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