Fever Fever, The Lovely Eggs, Penny Broadhurst, The Gresham Flyers, Detox Cute and The Beauty Junkies - A Very Cherry Chirstmas volume 4

Bill Cummings 21/12/2008

Rating: 3.5/5

It's that time of year again when the people at Cherryade reach into their bulging Santa's sack and pick out eighteen assorted shiny aural trinkets. This DIY music compilation of fiercely independent artists is the ideal present for kids who miss John Peel's festive 50.You see the guys at Cherryade have form, the previous three festive compilations have seen seasonal merriment from the likes of Das Wanderlust, The Hot Puppies, Dawn of the Replicants, and Misty's Big Adventure.

The first of the presents is Fever Fever's punky, fizzing, colourful brittle tune, Hallelujah Carol that kicks its way out of the wrapping, being a part shouty girl punk ride, and catchy sleigh bell-shaking melody Hallelujah carol! I thought I knew you Carol sounds more like a hymn to Loose Woman Carol Mcgiffen than festive sing alongs on midnight church benches. Boogying in the corner are Hotpants Romance, decked in red and white trim leather strides, playing out a delightfully off kilter, lo-fi version of All I want for Christmas, an antidote to Mariah's version, which was a sickening, cheese fest and no mistake.

Jangly twee from Cardiff collective Little My comes in the form of Xmas song, which contains a playful flute solo with pretty tiny melodies wrapping it up in a red bow.
The Lovely Eggs' Tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas is like a Rugrats theme tune, balancing between grating and genius. Front lady Holly Ross' shrill, drawn out opening notes resemble the painful cries of a small child who hasn't got what she wanted on Christmas morning, in this case its a lack of prehistoric figurines. Rhythms build before everyone collapses on the floor and gets eaten by a velociraptor. Super chaos.

Back on the train home and The Gresham Flyers' Perfect Christmas Snow(kiss) is a swooning boy/girl duet capturing the giddy feeling in their bellies that two lovers get as they travel home to spend Christmas eve together, it's the sound of Hefner waltzing gently with Belle and Sebastian on icy station platforms. Gorgeous. Later that evening Leeds' cult wordsmith Penny Broadhurst turns up with The End, a solitary midnight tale of a present that's keeping you up all night, subtle and modestly executed, its quite a melancholic delight: like the night light you got last year that blinks on your bed as you dream, I'd certainly like to hear the full version of this with her new band The Maffickers.

In every Santa's sack there's the worn out raggydolls scraping the bottom and Cherry 4 has a few, including Brighton's The Bobby Mcgees' Santa Del La Cruz, a disjointed set of spoken word gags, disappointing considering their standout contribution from last year was Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart and the Very Next Day You Sold It on Ebay' was tweecore genius. While Ste Mcabe's bah humbug tune Christmas Time for Sanctimonuous Swine is just puzzling, We all hate Cliff, why bother writing a limp song about it?! Ten Tigers' subversive take on festive misery with, Christmas on Prozac is grating, off colour horns meets SSRI infused shoutouts: its just bizarre, in a bad way.

The Seven Inches' 12 Days of Christmas' tongue in cheek, lager swilling take on the classic ode is choppy, punky, with an added side order of 70s sound affects and it revels in what really makes Christmas day for them! Mulled wine baby baby baby! - this one is for the office party!Detox Cutie and The Beauty Junkies (who with a name like this should currently be drying out in the Betty Ford clinic) take things down a notch or two with Alarm Bells b/w Silent Night, electronic beds allow swooning feminine vocals, neon synth lines drawn in puddles, to create an elegant, swirling melancholia redolent of The Pet Shop Boys meeting Stereolab for mulled wine and tales of their failed love lives. Exquisite. I'd like to hear more of these guys!

As the brandy you drunk to block out the family arguments kicks in, Stark Palace deliver Saw What Your Momma Did, a filthy brown paper bag full of sneering Beefheart vocals and fractured rhythms, it's the sound of a hundred steel toe capped boots stamping in your hungover head on Boxing day morning.

So there we have it another Cherryade compilation, like a bag of revels: a tasty mixed bag of surprises. I wonder what will turn up in our stocking next year?