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The Wombats - 'Is This Christmas?'

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:37 UK time, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Sleighbells - TICK!
Stuff about snow - TICK!
Heart-warming brass band - TICK!
Slightly cynical lyrics about shopping - TICK!
Suggestion that things aren't quite up to the Christmasses back when we was kids - TICK!
List of things which always happen at Christmas, including TV and burned Christmas dinner - TICK!
Fence-straddling indecision over whether to celebrate along with The Sheeplike Masses or be Original Thinkers And Therefore Above Such Things - TICKITY-TICK!

I have read comments online which suggest that this song is a sell-out by the band, that they have somehow abandoned the strong anti-commercial principles which led them to record the stirring generational anthems 'Let's Dance To Joy Division' and 'Backfire At The Disco' in order to cash in. Now no-one will believe that they really MEAN IT, MAAN.

I have also read comments from people who love this song because it's so very clearly anti-Christmas, and being anti-Christmas at Christmas is automatically a very cool thing to be.

And then there are the people who think it's just a nice larkabout festive ditty, with Les Dennis and some appalling Xmas jumpers in the video. They love Christmas, we love Christmas, goodwill to all men! And women!

The thing is, everyone is sort of right, and also entirely wrong. The Wombats aren't really a band who live or die by their anti-corporate ethics, are they? And this isn't exactly a change of musical direction for the band. It sounds exactly like they usually do, only with a sleigh-bell/brass band combo bookending the song.

So, what they are doing is having their Christmas cake and eating it, winding up purist indie kids and cocking a snook at cheesy Cliff songs at the same time. Is there ANYTHING the band approve of? Do you think they could sing about it? Soon?

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: December 15th

(Fraser McAlpine)

PS: As an antidote to all this uncertainty, why not try something a bit more direct, like Half Man Half Biscuit's 'It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas'?



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