Cerys Matthews

Baby It's Cold Outside

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It was a long road to Cerys Matthews' 2012 Christmas album, Baby It's Cold Outside. Way back in 1998, she dueted with Space on a hit single called "The Ballad of Tom Jones," which naturally lead to a teaming with Jones himself. The two Welsh singers did a big, blaring version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" in 1999, turning it into a Christmas hit that year and it stayed popular in Britain over the next decade or so, which in a roundabout way explains why the ex-Catatonia singer has done this collection of seasonal tunes in 2012. Matthews didn't bother re-recording the title track, a move that's a little odd considering this bold blast of brass sounds utterly unlike anything else on the album. The other 14 songs are done as simply as possible, cut live in the studio with Cerys and friends jingling bells, strumming guitars like lutes, plonking away at organs, and blowing through kazoos. If you're not a fan, you could call it cloying but it's cheerful, spirited, and charming, a warm celebration of overly familiar tunes that feels slightly fresher in this ridiculously cute and cacophonic setting.

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