Christmas. There isn’t a more divisive word beginning with C in the English language. Trust me, I’ve checked. And while there are those who complain about its commercialisation, or that it happens earlier every year, this year especially it’s nice to have something to look forward to, (even if the reality never really meets expectations).
That’s something that The Last Clouds understand perfectly, and unlike the day itself, their latest single “The Last of the Light” more than meets expectations. Though starting life last year as the acoustic “Christmas Card” sent out to friends and family by Matthew Schott, the turbulent and tumultuous year we’ve had has spurred the band to encourage their fans to “fall in love with life again” and embrace the festive season alongside them and a hugely ambitious reworking of said track.
And they could do far worse than heed that advice. A rousing and romantic depiction of the season without feeling overwrought or on the nose, The Last Clouds have succeeded in crafting something that feels traditional while avoiding any of the annoyances that come with such territory.
Harbouring more in common with the likes of Elbow than Shakin’ Stevens, huge swells of brass and string help craft an aesthetic that’s both wintery yet warming; only a subtle tambourine and occasional trills of flute serve to tether the track to traditions.
Christmas songs, by and large, have a pretty bad reputation. From the generally cheesy earworms, to those artists who have a…questionable history, it’s difficult to find genuine gems amongst a radio-ready litany of ‘classics’. The Last Clouds have managed to craft something that toes the line between feeling classic and being a genuinely good song, and just not by Christmas comparisons. Anthemic and uplifting, it should be a welcome addition to any festive playlists. Even if you are listening to them drunk and alone this year.