The Rosebuds have a new album of all original Christmas songs, entitled Christmas Tree Island. As much as I love covers, it’s great to hear a Christmas album that doesn’t have a single one on it. These songs don’t always have the traditional sentiments expressed in most ‘standards’ of the season, but they do have a resolute warmth and longing for the best that this holiday can bring. ‘I Hear (Click, Click, Click)’ kicks the record off with some of that early rock n’ roll exuberance that made their first lp, ‘Make Out’, so compelling when it debuted. The second song, ‘Thru That Door’ starts a string of tracks featuring saxophone that gradually get more soulful with each passing tune, climaxing with the 6+ minute slow jam, ‘Lonely Light’. You hear the influence of the sounds of Sade that they most recently openly an earnestly revealed with their cover of the whole Love Deluxe album1. Immediately following ‘Lonely Light’, the album goes back to the rock, with what I believe to be the finest track of the bunch, ‘Melt Our Way Out’. The last few songs stick to the signature Rosebuds sound, but infuse it with some Christmas sonic staples, such as the surfy sounding guitar on ‘Journey To Christmas Island’ (for which they bring back the sax, as well).
It’s rare that a band puts out a Christmas album, and instead of some token covers for the season, release one of their finest collections of original songs.