Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert – Ghost Stories for Christmas – Album Review by Killian Laher
After this year’s well-received Here Lies The Body album, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert enjoyed it so much they are back with a Christmas album! Instrumental track Fireside opens the album, featuring Hubbert’s exquisite guitar playing alongside some violin. Moffat is very much in brooding, reflective form rather than the acerbic fellow of old. Even the sleighbells don’t lighten the mood so much on A Ghost Story for Christmas, a clever twist on traditional Christmas carols as he sings “deck the halls with love”. Desire Path harks back to the clubbier side of Arab Strap with a stop start disco beat.
Many of the tracks are mainly Moffat doing spoken word, such as the sweet Such Shall You Be and the oddly compelling Hans Christian Andersen adaptation, The Fir Tree. We also get a pair of covers – Mud’s Lonely This Christmas and Yazoo’s Only You which are rendered sparsely with deadpan vocals from Moffat, the latter with Jenny Reeve on backing vocals. You’ve heard these before but never done quite like this.
Moffat’s edge of old hasn’t completely gone, it’s still evident on Ode to Plastic Mistletoe. Here, we’re back in the pub with a biting tale of snogging under the aforementioned plastic mistletoe accompanied by Hubbert’s gentle guitar parts and the bleakest New Year bells this side of Glasgow’s East end. On the complete other end of the scale The Recurrence of Dickens will melt even the sternest of hearts, particularly the last few minutes where a couple of kids sing Jingle Bells in strong Scottish accents.
There’s nothing quite as dark here as Moffat’s rendition of Night Before Christmas he released a few years ago. This definitely won’t be a Christmas album for the whole family, some will find its downbeat atmosphere too much for them. But fans of Aidan Moffat or RM Hubbert will be delighted to find this under the tree this Christmas.
Track List –
2. A Ghost Story for Christmas
3. Desire Path
4. Such Shall You Be
5. Lonely This Christmas
7. The Fir Tree
8. Only You
9. Ode to Plastic Mistletoe
10. The Recurrence of Dickens