The Orchid Pool

To Drive the Cold Winter Away

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An album made as sincerely in the Christmas spirit as any likely to be heard, To Drive the Cold Winter Away was an obvious labor of love for the Orchid Pool. Comprised completely of traditional material, save the hallucinatory "Tony in Toyland," familiar tunes like "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "O Tannenbaum," and the beautifully rendered "The Cherry Tree Carol" are both reverent and idiosyncratic. Showing an impressive range, "As Joseph Was a-Walking" is given a elegant Celtic feel with penny whistle and oscillating guitar strums, while the wild carnival-esque ride through "Rudolph the Red Nosed Polka" is an uninhibited parade of instruments. The canned synth coda of "Bingle Jells" comes across like the music of an internet greeting card, providing an amusing finale for an album that stays far above the trite sentimentalism and moroseness that mars many Christmas releases.

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