dude york Halftime for the Holidays (CD, £12.25)label: Hardly Art
The holidays are weird, man. Ostensibly, they’re about family and fun and food and festivities, but more often they portend arguing with your family about politics- and that mental dance you have to do where you’re like “Should I get Trevor a gift even though my funds are dwindling and I’m not even sure if he’s going to get me one in return so this could end up being a whole awkward thing?” The reality of the holidays lies somewhere more liminal, in the space between joy and depression, between excitement and boredom, between “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” and “I think I might murder my entire family.” So who better to teach us the true reason for the season than Dude York, a band whose music so often seems to exist in an in-between space of their own? Dude York are funny and serious and earnest and deeply ironic all at the same time. The three friends who comprise the band—Peter Richards (guitar, vocals), Claire England (bass, vocals) and Andrew Hall (drums, vocals)—have spent their four years together applying their particular Dude York-ian sensibility to topics like mental health, breakups, and the power of art and friendship. Now they’ve returned with Halftime for the Holidays to pop some chestnuts right on your fire and tackle their most poignant theme yet; THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. Halftime for the Holidays is a holiday record for how the holidays actually feel. Tracks like “Takin’ Care of Christmas” (it’s exactly what you think it is) and “Jingle Bells Rock” (it’s not) deliver the requisite tacky cheer. “Greatest Gift is You” and “My Favorite Part (Of This Time of Year)” soar like the greatest pop-punk love songs, with the added benefit of CHRISTMAS. And songs like “Long Distance Christmas” and “Break Up Holiday” testify to the loneliness that they can spring on you without warning. It’s a record that manages to wrap the strangeness of sleeping in your childhood twin bed and the soft wonder of waking up to snow into one delightful white elephant present that you won’t re-gift. Halftime for the Holidays is self-consciously goofy, but refreshing in its willingness to tackle the misery and joy of the season with equal force. So deck the halls, engage in a regrettable make out session underneath the mistletoe, and rest assured that no matter what kind of reindeer games the universe is playing with you this year, Dude York has you covered.
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