Often artists come up with seasonal discs and The Brigadier is one of them. After the dazzling full length album this past May, we have two audio goodies to listen to. “Rhymes for Rainy Days” is group of reflective and fun songs about Autumn. Opening with “To go on Holiday” it combines a 10cc sense of jovial cheer to the rhythmic synths, where he wants to “…get away from all the British people.” It provides some autumn chuckles. “Guy Fawkes” is whimsical instrumental that leads us to the somber “The Same Old Sunday,” sung in a near whisper. The very pastoral imagery and cool vocal of “What happened to Autumn?” combines the provincial XTC sound with Lou Reed’s “Wild Side.” The other songs are quiet reflections (“No One’s Ever Here”) and don’t have as much punch, but are highly compelling to listen to.
I love a good Christmas album and “Six Christmas Tales” with The Brigadier (Matt Williams) plays like an intimate concert in your living room. The album has just enough Ray Davies’ English humour and lounge theatrics to make this a nice holiday album. “Santa Claus” is a soft shoe ballad to the jolly one himself, full of hope and corny sentiment (the stuff that Ringo used to do so well). “Christmas Ain’t Just for Kids” has a richer instrumentation and is very much like an XTC single with Brian May guitars in the background, and it’s a lot of fun to listen to. The fun of shopping is part of “The Christmas List” with it’s cheesy lyrical schedule of shopping “to-do” items and a solid guitar solo. There’s loads of talent Mr. Williams has displayed here. Thank goodness we have original holiday music here without the same old boring holiday chestnuts (Silver Bells, anyone?). Even though it’s low key and understated, it suits the weather and makes me look forward to the holidays.