Has anyone asked for some dark blues Christmas Carrols? It doesn’t matter, Cameron Avery just delivered a bunch of them and it’s probably the best Christmas album this year.
Tame Impala’s bassist released his debut solo album Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams in 2017, a full-journey around Avery’s Imaginarium paying clear tribute to artists like Johny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Leonard Cohen, not only because of his deep and soulful voice -which Cameron shares with those three iconic singer-songwriters- but also because of his storytelling and compositions.
Scrooge is not different, the 6-piece album is a mix between exclusive Cameron’s original Carrols and covers of some of our favorite Christmas songs, but even those have been gifted by Midas’ touch that resides in the Australian bassist and singer-songwriter. Cameron’s lyrics are odd, but what else to expect from such an odd year? From irony in You Can Leave Me on Boxing Day or Death of a Christmas Tree to the parody in Oooff!… It’s Christmas Already?! the whole album is full of sarcastic messages intentionally using verses or melodies from old Carrols. And that tendency is followed by Avery’s voice which sounds whether too mellow or too enigmatic or both at the same time.
This is a totally different Imaginarium compared with his first album although it resembles somehow, here the musician explores the Soul/Blues ballad and that makes it all sound even more profound and as well counter with the almost-satiric poetry. It shows a singular and magnificent ability to express emotions, feelings, and thoughts through lyrics and melodies since there’s a strong purpose behind every cover, every verse taken from other Carrol, or every time he says “There’ll be no joy to the world” on Come on Home while he cancels Christmas this year. Even the cracking noises of a chair heard at the beginning of the first song, and the placing the guitar against the wall, closing the EP, give us the idea of some loneliness, reinforced by the echo that can be heard sometimes in his voice.
This will be a strange Christmas for everyone, it is too hard to imagine how it will be, as it was every moment of the year, but one thing’s for sure: we can all be warmed up by some oddly incredible songs.