maandag 11 december 2017

BROS: A Very BROS Christmas Vol. I

BROS: A Very BROS Christmas Vol. I (Dine Alone, DAV201, Canada, 45 rpm, black or green/red-vinyl)

Knowing that the poplular late 1980s British boy band Bros ('When Will I Be Famous?', 'I Owe You Nothing', these songs should ring a bell) reformed in 2017 and seeing a 7” called 'A Very BROS Christmas Vol. I' released by a band called BROS for Record Store Day's Black Friday celebration, one might think that the brothers Luke And Matt Goss decided to follow up their 1988 Christmas hit 'Silent Night' (#2 in the UK singles chart), to compete again for the UK Christmas number one. I do have a copy of 'the 'Silent Night' 7” in my collection, but to be honest, that is more because of the beautiful designed sleeve (with three golden silhouettes - there were still three bros in those days - under a golden star with a dark blue background) than because of their interpretation of 'Silent Night', that was a bit too polished for my taste.

Of course, the fact that 'A Very BROS Christmas, Vol. I' was a Canadian RSD Black Friday release was a sign that this was maybe a different Bros. And for those still in doubt, just take a look on the cover: instead of two clean cut guys in their late 40s /early 50s two 20-something types are pictured, both far from clean cut... one has a moustache, and the other sports a beard, and, well, I am pretty sure these guys are not going to the hairdresser, or should I say barber, every week, looking at their haircuts. What they do have in common with the other Bros is that two brothers are involved (hence the name, as you guessed), Ewan and Shamus Currie. Ewan is the front man for platinum-selling Canadian band rock band The Sheepdogs, and Shamus is the keyboard player of the band. As they are platinum selling, they must be very big in Canada and probably also the States, but to be honest, I had never heard of The Sheepdogs. Which, of course, says more about me than about the band.

The two brothers released a debut album as BROS in October 2016, that also carried the name BROS and had the same sleeve photo as their Christmas single, minus the Santa/Elf hats and the green/red background. As that would not have made sense for a non-Christmas album. The Sheepdogs appear to be a straightforward rock band, but for their BROS project, the Cumming brothers took their inspirations from all over the pop music spectrum, not only rock bands (their bio mentions Badfinger) but also South American musicians like Gilberto Gil and psychedelic band Os Mutantes. Not that I really hear these influences back on their Christmas single. The two Christmas originals, 'It's Christmas Day' and 'These Things Comfort Me' are definitely more pop than rock.

A-side 'It's Christmas Day' is a Beatlesque feel good song, with vocal harmonies and some gang vocals – literally. The instrumentation is simple but effective: just acoustic guitars, sleigh bells and some keys playing fine catchy melodies, including a variation on 'Jingle Bells' in the instrumental break halfway through the song. The lyrics paint a nice picture of Christmas, with snow on your boots and once you are inside, you'll find yourself roasting chestnust and singing old fashioned melodies, and 'old Jack Frost' who 'is whistling out a warning'. But no problem, as 'the gang is all here to keep the cold away'. A wish for peace for earth this Christmas makes it complete. A lovely Christmas song. B-side 'These Things Comfort Me' is more uptempo, with guitars and handclaps setting the pace and lyrics about feeling comfortable with friends and family at Christmas. Sounds a bit like an old recently discovered Beach Boys demo.

500 copies are pressed of this single, of which 100 are on half green / half red vinyl. These 100 are randomly inserted, and as the singles are packed in plastic, you'll never know what you'll find if you come home from the shop or find the record in your mailbox and you open up the record. A nice way to bring the excitement of opening your Christmas present into the game. My copy was black, but it just sounds as good, or maybe even better, as the half green / half red version, I am telling myself, in a bad effort to come to terms with this big disappointment. I wonder if my friend, for whom I also ordered a copy, will be more lucky. If he is, will I ever be able to forgive myself to have chosen the wrong copy of the two? Anyway, enough collectors talk, back to what interests you: where do I get a copy of this great record? The 7” was released by the band's label, Dine Alone Records, and apart from your local (Canadian) record shop, you can also get it through the website of Dine Alone Records () – lucky for us non-Canadians!

You can listen to the single on Spotify:

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