2. All On A Christmas Morning
3. Come December
4. O Holy Night
6. I Saw Three Ships
7. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
8. Janette Isabella
9. For Samuel
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This second album by renowned California-based vocal ensemble Sonos, "December Songs" is that rare animal: a Holiday-themed collection that you can play any time of year. Appealing to all ages, their arrangements and vocals are as influenced by Imogen Heap and Bon Iver as they are a contemporary Swingle Singers or Bobby McFerrin. The young sextet reinvent classics like "O Holy Night," "All On A Christmas Morning" and "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" with a sensibility that makes the songs feel ancient yet entirely modern. Sonos create a song such as "Janette, Isabella" out of a little-known 16th century French carol, or make a breathtaking start to the disc with an "Ave Maria" that is both exquisite choral music and gorgeous pop with an emotional core. "December Songs" includes some stunning originals -- "Home" is an instant classic, while "Come December" has more hooks than a Christmas tree! All in all, a joyful addition to the vocal canon, destined to be celebrated and enjoyed by a wide audience, every year. And a record that redefines what you can expect from "seasonal" music.
I love this group! There are several pre-dominent styles of a cappella singing and, inevitably, such a group will fall into one or another no matter how exceptional the performances. I believe Sonos has actually created a whole new style of a cappella--one that is rich, imaginative, intimate, sensual and yet still fun, upbeat and surprising without resorting to kitsch or dow. Check out the group's incredible version of The Jackson 5's "I Want you Back" at the top of their MySpace player, to hear what I'm talking about. And this group and Christmas music were made for each other.
The six voice vocal group previously supplied a rendition of "White Winter Hymnal" for the Barnes & Noble exclusive "Sunday Music 5: Holiday" in 2008. You can listen to that one on MySpace as well.
So light the fireplace, pour the brandy, grab a blanket and your best girl or guy--this promises to be amazing.