BoyMeetsWorld – Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal (2013)

download (1)Songs about Christmas and the festive season would not normally be my thing, but BoyMeetsWorld have served up something a little different to the usual Mariah Carrey and Wham! Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal is the festive love child of Craig Sulken, vocalist of BoyMeetsWorld; he’s been working on this album with other band mates for 2 years, and ’tis the season to release.

The album starts with ‘Christmas Time Again’, chiming church bells and perky gang vocals and after a very pop punk ‘Let’s go’ the song bursts into some 2008 vibes, very You Me At Six. There are two small piano breaks that I’m not 100% sure about; but when the rest of the instrumentation comes back, I can’t say I hate it. The vocals suit the musical style really well, and I really like the gang vocals and the little breakdown towards the end. Overall, this is a good track with little twinkles of Christmas dusting.

The second track ‘Rather be but Here’ takes on a much more laid back tone, very City And Colour cross Punk Goes Acoustic. I love how there isn’t too much going on in this track, it has a really intimate feeling, and the band hasn’t fallen for the mass over production that seems to happen on so many acoustic songs. I love how bare it is; it’s raw and open and really brings in the listener.

I find myself not being such a massive fan of the continued intimacy in the next track ‘Alone for the Holidays’. While it is a lovely song and, on any other occasion I would appreciate it in a very ‘Bright Eyes’ manner, I feel sad. It’s a very sad and lonely song; I don’t think people need reminding how lonely the season can be on a Christmas album. Also the vocal melody for the lyric “Cos I don’t wanna be alone this Christmas” shares a stunning resemblance to the vocal melody of Good Charlotte’s ‘Anthem’.

The more I listen to the album the more sullen I begin to feel. It is by no means because of the quality of the music, because these boys have talent, they are good and they write great songs; but by the title track ‘Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal’ I can’t hear about any sadder Christmas break ups and longing for things. However, the guitar solos in this track are stunningly beautiful! They alone cheer me up.

I think ‘O Holy Night’ is very clever, the band have picked up from themes from the Christmas carol ‘Silent Night’ which I imagine will give most listeners a sense of relaxation and nostalgia of Christmas carolling as a child. The nearly three-minute instrumental is beautifully crafted and very well produced for such sparseness musically. It genuinely puts you in a festive mood.

For those with the bonus track a full band version of ‘Home for the Holidays’ is so much better than the acoustic version; it sounds so much happier, just with other instruments. The vocals sound happier, musically it is the same essentially; but the difference in the full band version is astonishing.

Overall, I cannot fault this album; musically it is stunning, both full band and acoustic. Yet, for a Christmas album I just find it a little too depressing. The two full band songs are great, very upbeat, and I think it’s how all Christmas song should be. We need more pop punk Christmas songs, but the in-between acoustic numbers, as beautiful as they are, are just not right.

BoyMeetsWorld are a talented band and I think they could do so unbelievably well for themselves and make a real career out of music; and for any other occasion than a Christmas album I would love every track, there’s just not enough Christmas sparkle, even for a Grinch like me.

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