Those looking more for cheer and fun, may prefer this over the spiritual companion but both are excellent.

Label: Plumb Music
Length: 5 songs/15 minutes

It’s Christmastime EP by Plumb is the playful companion to her Behold EP. Both consist of five songs that mix new with standards. Behold provides the spiritual side whereas It’s Christmastime is holiday fun and nostalgia. Both are excellent! For more on Behold see my separate review.

For those who might be tempted to overlook Christmastime, it is just as satisfying and may be more entertaining than Behold. Like the other it has outstanding production, a variety of instrumentation and styles, and warm sentiments but it may have a slight edge for being so cheery and even humorous.

The one standard, “It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas,” is a duet with Marc Martel, former lead singer of the Canadian band, Downhere, who can probably sound more like Freddie Mercury than anyone on the planet. He had the honor of singing some of the vocal parts for the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. He has also released several Christmas recordings as a solo artist, so I was excited to see his name listed. He sings the first stanza and Plumb does the second before they start to mix and join their voices. Appreciate Plumb covering a classic that does not get remade often.

As is the case on the title track Behold, which is a beautiful centerpiece. I don’t have any liner notes but I assume that just like “Behold” it’s a new song. Nostalgic images abound against a playful melody. It takes off on the chorus through a boy’s choir providing the background. Their voices soar and become more layered with each repetition making it euphoric.

“Another Year Has Gone By” follows and is probably my favorite. I relish the way this starts and sounds throughout. Listeners are treated to a bit of modern sounding doo-wop. Movie producers take note! This is the song to anchor a holiday romance about faithfulness through the years. It’s pure pop pleasure with tender, loving sentiments. It’s the best love song that I have heard in some time. It includes a tasteful guitar solo towards the end.

I must admit that “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is my least favorite. It’s insistent with music matching the attitude, but it’s all in fun. It’s quite the romp, which seems fitting for a song about wanting a hippo. The sentiments are quite practical. No going down the chimney, just bring it in through the front door. I can imagine Larry the cucumber of VeggieTales singing this except for the fact that hippos are vegetarians, which might make him wary.

These two EPs earn their place among the best new releases of the season. Listeners can be enriched whenever there is a need for some goodwill and cheer.

Michael Dalton