It’s that time of the year again where you can dust off your favourite Christmas albums. Whether it be that yearly rotation of Mariah Carey’s festive classic, ‘All I Want for Christmas’, or everyone’s favourite crooner, Michael Bublé. Understandably, these are timeless hits that return annually, but perhaps also maybe a little bit tired. If you’re looking for a new spin on Christmas, but also want to do your good bit for charity so Santa doesn’t give you coal, then look no further!
After already releasing two albums in a year that has been packed full or turbulence for the music industry, you would think that Melbourne rockers Kingswood would be ready to pack it in and call it a year. But just when you thought they were done, Kingswood have dived headfirst into Melbourne’s Newmarket Studios to record this year’s best new Christmas album, ‘A Kingswood Christmas’. Co-Engineered by Guus Hovenaars and Kingswood’s very own Alex Laska, the lads have created an album full of all everyone’s favourite Christmas tunes from Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole.
The album begins with a wonderfully jazzy rendition of ‘White Christmas’. Alex Laska’s vocals perfectly match the crooner vibe of this track and when accompanied by the delightful sounds of a piano and sultry solo performance from Richard Butler on the tenor saxophone, it is a match made in heaven. Not only is this track the perfect introduction to Kingswood as a jazz band, but it also perfectly sets the tone of the whole album.
Normally known for his incredible falsetto and rock chops, Ferg Linacre steps right into the crooner feel of the album as well with absolute ease. With a wonderfully composed cover of ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’, Linacre’s vocal performance instantly put a massive smile on my face. The endorphin inducing vocals from Linacre continue with a cover of ‘Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow’. Later in the album, Linacre’s delightful cover of ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’ that is quickly backed up with a beautiful rendition of ‘The Christmas Song’. It is clear to me, that Ferg Linacre is completely within his element on ‘A Kingswood Christmas’.
Now, I admittedly am not a religious man, but Alex Laska’s cover of ‘O Holy Night’ is something that I can only describe as an out of body experience. It is uplifting, enchanting and is up there as one of my favourite ever vocal performance from Laska. The track opens with an incredible, perfectly layered acapella intro followed by the beautiful tone of a grand piano, accompanied by solo vocals from Laska. The bridge consists of another beautiful sax solo from Richard Butler that perfectly links this track to the jazz roots of the rest of the album/ Whilst the whole track is pure vocal perfection, it is the outro that completely blew me away. Bravo Alex, bravo.
‘A Kingswood Christmas’ would have to be one of the best modern Christmas albums released that I have heard in an exceptionally long time. However, this album is more than just another Christmas album, as with everything that has gone on this year including COVID-19 running a bulldozer through the music industry, Kingswood have decided to give back, with proceeds from the sale of this album going to Beyond Blue.
In a statement from Kingswood, they mention, “Many Australians are approaching an unprecedented period of difficulty, with the ongoing hardships the pandemic has caused, running into Christmas. The experts at Beyond Blue recognise that sometimes holidays can also bring stress, anxiety and depression, particularly among those dealing with loneliness, relationship difficulties or financial worries. Beyond Blue provide vital support for all Australians and together, we want to remind everyone that if you’re in strife and you need support for your mental health, reach out and ask.”
After facing their own financial difficulties this year, I find this notion by Kingswood very admirable, hopeful and inspiring. Not only is this 12-track beauty one that I strongly urge you to listen to (that sounds bloody great by the way), but by listening and purchasing a copy, you also help those in need, which is honestly the good deed and kindness that Christmas is all about after all.
‘A Kingswood Christmas’ is out now on streaming services everywhere, a physical copy is available now on CD in their store, and Kingswood will be donating all profits from the record to Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
For more information on Kingswood, visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com
To purchase a physical copy of ‘A Kingswood Christmas’, visit: https://www.kingswoodband.com/product-page/a-kingswood-christmas
For information on Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, visit: https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au