Christmas Records, Day 20: The Lancashire Hotpots
The Lancashire Hotpots' Christmas Cracker - (Townshend Records, released 2009)
For those not in the know - though, maybe, they might prefer to stay that way - The Lancashire Hotpots are a comedy folk(ish) ensemble from St Helens, whose He's Turned Emo (included here, alongside a few other non-festive numbers) was something of a cult hit in 2007. The cheap and cheerful lyrical playfulness of that single - "He used to listen to Simply Red / Now he's listening to Fall Out Boy instead" - carries over into this collection, which features 23 tracks, roughly half of which are written specially for this time of year. Christmas Number One finds the holly-jolly four-piece searching under the tree for a chart-topper, only to conclude that it'll go the way of the X Factor whatever their findings (or maybe not this year?); It's Cliff-mas Time is an oddly tender tribute to the decades-spanning seasonal number ones of Sir Cliff (a "bona-fide friend of JC", of course); and Gaviscon Christmas rides a Last Christmas-aping melody but turns Wham!'s song of lost love into a tale of necking 24 cans of lager before the Queen's speech - "I feel like spending Christmas on the bog / Please, no jokes about chocolate logs". The jokes are thinner than pound shop wrapping paper, the group's shtick established with their opener and never stretched. But with everything sung with a smile, it's impossible to not giggle gently along with many of these efforts, and this CD will make a fine substitute for exchanging cracker gags after gorging on turkey with the trimmings.
Watch an advertisement (of sorts) for The Lancashire Hotpots' Christmas Cracker