Christmas at Sea, the latest release from The Longest Johns is a must-listen this Winter for a hearty yuletide. The three festive tracks follow on from the quartet’s debut album - Bones In The Ocean - from earlier in 2013.
Four unaccompanied male voices - Josh Bowker, Jonathan Darley, Dave Robinson and Andy Yates - the Longest Johns have put a unique Christmas twist on their usual stunning a capella performance with the spreading of festive favourites and the reinvention of seasonal poetry.
The title track, Christmas at Sea combines driving clapped rhythms, powerful harmonies and real gusto to bring to the listener a unique tale that offers adventure and ’bitter pain and dread’ in place of the usual Christmas merriments. The sound that the four voices produce is extraordinary and the thoughtful reinterpretation of this classic poem is a real treat for the listener - with it perhaps being less familiar than the other two tracks.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen sees the Longest Johns paying tribute to the carolling season. Their rather upbeat version with fresh arrangements and with particular attention given to dynamics and energy makes it a true joy to listen to. Short and sweet, but one that lends itself to be enjoyed over and over again, along with the rest of the EP.
Finally, The Snow it Melts the Soonest is beautifully arranged, with focus on solo voices and gorgeous harmonies providing an atmospheric backdrop to the well-loved song, moving up and down with the melody. This track provides a contrast to the previous old favourite and leaves the listener satisfied with the variety and interest of the EP.
With no instruments or accompanying music, the Longest Johns one again demonstrate the voice to be an instrument in its own right. Christmas music with traditional influence - the perfect accompaniment to all seasonal festivities.Rebekah Foard
Released 2nd December 2013.
1. Christmas at Sea
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3. The Snow it Melts the Soonest