Tom Chaplin

Twelve Tales of Christmas

(Island)

After a very successful solo album, Chaplin must feel it is the right time to make his mark on the seasonal release scene and why not? This record has some strange choices amongst pretty original fare and must be counted as an achievement. It will probably have some appeal to listeners not Keane fanatics, too.

Sheer folly to include Walking In The Air, everyone is too familiar with the Aled Jones version. However Midnight Mass and its gentle piano intro casts a misty spell all its own and the vocal is superb, almost Johnny Mathis or Colin Blunstone phrasing.

2000 Miles is the familiar lilting Pretenders hit, presented in an airy arrangement and stressing the beauty of the melody. Chaplin also sounds hesitant during this one, no idea why. Under A Million Lights hints at Spector with its tempo and has a fine vocal performance, uplifting and tuneful so a real highlight of this programme. Keyed just right, at the top of his range and he rides it well.

River is of course Joni Mitchell’s tune and not Terry Reid’s. Maybe too soft an arrangement here but it is a lovely song indeed. Maybe some people will hear the song for the first time, we are not all the same age. On to London Lights with its chiming guitar arpeggio’s and haunting cadences, a contemporary lyric and a gem of a song. I like the drumming on this cut, just right. We Remember You This Christmas has a dreamy ambience of nostalgia and a setting that seems to make it sad rather than celebratory. Perhaps it’s the icy arrangement, electric piano would have taken off the chill. Nonetheless an affecting melody.

Stay Another Day is the East 17 pop hit and Tom says the composer likes it. It’s a bit glacial for me. For The Lost is reflective and gently produced, letting the distinctive voice through. One for fans and well-assembled. Another Lonely Christmas has a folksy feel, heavier beat with distant echoes of Gilbert O’Sullivan or David McWilliams. The drums here are too busy imho. But it sits well in the running.

Follow My Heart uses an almost music box melody as an intro, Chaplin sounds a tad depressed. Say Goodbye ends the record. Stately piano sets the scene and a McCartneyesque melody carries the words.

Not yer average Christmas album. The overall sound is for this listener too chilly too often but Chaplin has his own voice, it’s well-recorded and the choices ring the changes. For me it’s London Lights that sits at the top of the tree, here.

Pete Sargeant



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(Thanks Glenn)

Tom Chaplin Photo Credit: Josh Shinner

You can watch the official music video for Tom Chaplin’s new single ‘Midnight Mass’ in this article. 

Tom Chaplin’s new studio album ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ is out now on Island. 

You can read our review of Tom’s solo studio album ‘The Wave’ here:  http://bit.ly/2dTvZSv 

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2fum2eB

Tom Chaplin