Review by Paul D Houston
I'm always hankering for an interestingly weird lo-fi rock album and this album, "The Prettiest Place" by XMAS fills that hunger pretty well. This album is a mix of indie rock, alt-country, alt-folk and noisy experimentalism, and I really dig it's clumsy, yet pretty blend of songs. While the recording on most of these songs seem to be done in one take, there's a cleverness to the composition and lively feel to all of them. At times theres a definite studio sound going on, but then you're transported to someones bedroom recording session and then there are times where it seems like we're sitting around a campfire, where everyone has an instrument of some kind and we're all just banging out a rowdy ass tune.
Overall the instrumentation and songwriting is pretty damn solid, with the vocals being a particular highlight. The vocals are airy, pretty and at times nearly breathless, but they tie all the honky-tonk, indie noise stuff together in a nice little blend of pleasant sounding songs. I highly recommend this album!
The title track ended up being my favorite from the album - -
But do check out the whole album for other little gems too! https://adelbengo.bandcamp.com/album/the-prettiest-place-2