A Grassroots Christmas Fest.
Two of Britain’s growing, awesome underground rock bands have released Christmas songs within the last week or so, marking the start of the festive month and kicking it off with a rock-filled punch. Southern/blues inspired Norfolk rock band Bad Touch put out their joyous song, A Gift For You, on the last couple of days of November. Meanwhile, Worcester based party/country rock band Bootyard Bandits put out their own answer to the holidays, Christmas No. 1, on the 4th of December. Given that it ‘tis the season and all that, I thought I’d take a look at both of these singles and see what they’re like!
Bad Touch – A Gift For You.
Starting with Bad Touch, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious; the heavily Darkness-inspired guitar solo intro. It sounds awesome and it’s really crazy how a few simple guitar notes can sound so Christmassy. It sets the tone for the song perfectly. The fun and festive feel continues through the verse, and not just because of the ‘sleigh bells’ that are present in the mix. The music is simple but effective, giving the song a great groove to it as the drums and vocals take center stage. Bad Touch on Facebook
Stevie’s lyrics are filled with stories of the happy times surrounding Christmas, too, like getting together with your family and just relaxing and having fun. One of the band’s strongest suits has always been its incredible vocal harmonies and these are on full display here, both in the verses and choruses. Speaking of the chorus, it is infectiously catchy and damn easy to sing along to, something that is definitely needed in a Christmas song. The guitars and drums kick in more during it, adding further layers and sounding great. The lyrics talk about Santa visiting and bringing you gifts, and somehow even the vocal melody sounds Christmassy! It is superbly written and fits the season perfectly. Another awesome (if a little short) Christmassy guitar solo before launching into another great verse and chorus. The final double chorus closes things off in massive fashion, too, with even BIGGER vocal harmonies and backing vocals, alongside another guitar solo shredding along to the melody in the background, all combining together to make a real epic sounding ending.
Bootyard Bandits – Christmas No. 1
Bandits go the complete opposite way with their Christmas song. While they also open with a vaguely festive solo, it sounds more in keeping with their own country style than it does an actual Christmas sound. They also keep the entire song in their usual heavier, hard rock sort of style instead of changing it up and making it a little lighter, like Bad Touch did. Both are fantastic Christmas songs in their own right, though. The lyrics here are great, too, although perhaps not the best ones to show your kids! Bandits on facebook
Revealing the truth about Santa and his reindeer, saying that angels and even Jesus don’t exist, and saying that the band are coming on Christmas eve to steal everyone’s toys, like some sort of collaborative Grinch. The chorus again is catchy and easy to sing along to, meaning it would be a great song to hear live I’d imagine, during the one month of the year where they could get away with playing it. The guitar riff through the chorus is awesome, too, so massively country yet still being heavy, like a lot of their other stuff. The solo in this one is awesome, too, a real technically sound, hard rock solo really channelling some Slash vibes. Then we get to the most Christmassy part of the song, the band forming a mock church choir, one that sounds surprisingly awesome and well-rehearsed/put together. After that we get a double chorus to end the song in some style and catchiness.
I loved both of these songs. Both offer completely different takes on Christmas songs but do so incredibly well, producing catchy, entertaining songs chocked full of talent, joy and laughs. I have no idea why this year has been so good for new Christmas songs, I’m usually not a fan of modern ones but to have three come out that I like within one week… well, it must be a Christmas miracle!
The review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths