Release Date: Dec 7, 2018
Record label: Rock Action
In spite of his atheist beliefs, Aidan Moffat knows how to make a good Christmas album. His second long playing venture with RM Hubbert, Ghost Stories For Christmas is an intimate collection of seasonal portraits, delving deep into the effect the festive season has on relationships and the beliefs (or lack of) behind them. Recorded over barely a couple of weeks in the summer, it is a basic affair - and is all the better for it.
With the possible exception of Phil Spector, Brits do Christmas music way better than the Americans. Across the pond they have the big, sentimental celebrations of Mariah and Kelly Clarkson, or the drippy schmaltz of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams. Over here we have just three moods: pissed (Slade), miserable (Wham!) or cynical (Wizzard). The best ('Fairytale of New York') manage all three.
Depending on who you are and what you've been through, ghosts can linger at Christmas. Sometimes, they take the form of a lost love, or a long-gone relative. They can come in a sense of disconnection from the festivities - or in a yearning to feel closer to someone, or something, or anything in particular. And in a season that encourages togetherness, we can feel so wrong to feel apart.
A rab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat isn't the most obvious candidate to release a Christmas album. He introduces their gigs as being "unsuitable for children". His largely misanthropic narratives feature tales of brawling, fighting and Scenes of a Sexual Nature. This year's Here Lies the Body, which paired Moffat and fellow Glaswegian Scottish album of the year winner Hubbert - was a selection of "carnal lullabies".