A little Rosebuds for Christmas

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Santa has been making his list and checking it twice since 1939. The chestnuts have been roasting since 1944. And Rudolph with his nose-so-bright has had us blazed at Christmas since 1949. Christmas, it seems, is a holiday as much about nostalgic feelings as new memories; The Rosebuds' latest release, Christmas Tree Island, takes that spirit to heart.

At 13 tracks, the record mines timeworn Christmas themes with new energy. The band's signature pop swells enthrall from the first jingle bells on "I Hear (Click, Click, Click)" to the beautiful strings on closer "Journey to Christmas Island."

"Christmas music is more than just changing the lyrics to a non-holiday themed song," according to the merry manifesto on the record's Bandcamp page. "It's about creating a world of its own specifically for the Holiday and capturing those feelings for a moment."

Those high intentions lead to songs of big city celebrations ("Xmas in New York"), unsung heroes ("Christmas Dan") and the simple joys of Christmas morning ("Blackout Choir"). Altogether, it's a worthy send-up of holiday tunes that trade schmaltz for pop delight.

Preview and download Christmas Tree Island here. While you're at it, check out the band's recent and great 20th anniversary tribute to Sade's Love Deluxe here.

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