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HO HO WHO: A Christmasy-themed 7-inch from Mynabirds, the latest project of Laura Burhenn, of Georgie James fame. The A-side is “All I Want Is Truth (for Christmas),” which juxtaposes stock yuletide sentiments and some strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with some everyday doom-forecasting. The B-side takes a more hopeful tact, at least on paper: It’s a cover of The Zombies‘ “This Will Be Our Year.”
THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: Like the Sleigher, Burhenn clearly appreciates the fact that NO SOUND CAN EVER BE SADDER THAN THE PEDAL STEEL, LIKE EVER. The instrument is on both sides of this 7-inch, courtesy of J. Tom Hnatow. On “All I Want Is Truth,” it tickles the sarcastic payoffs (“Cuz the scientists predict another record-level year/It will be warm enough outside for all the birds to stay right here”) to the earnest, sleigh-bell-augmented set-ups. On the Zombies cut, it renders a kinda-inscrutable vocal reading at-least-somewhat-miserable. The Sleigher, you should know, likes his Christmas music in a depressing key.
THE UNFORTUNATE DAVID BOWIE/BING CROSBY COVER OF “LITTLE DRUMMER BOY”: But the Sleigher isn’t quite buying the A-side’s soul-crushing-consumerism-as-a-distraction-from-all-the-terrible-things-out-there theme—-or at the very least, he considers it something of a cliche. “But we won’t care/we’ll sip our coffees/And we’ll watch our TVs/Yeah, they’re all flat-screens/But whatever you do/Don’t turn on the news,” she sings, but it’s not like Burhenn is, um, singing about WikiLeaks on her non-Christmas material. Her Mynabirds album from earlier this year is mostly about heartbreak—-serious, cathartic, on-the-whole-excellent stuff, but not of an austere, world-ending stripe.
CHEER FACTOR: 3/10. But Burhenn excels at songs that are sad to the point of transporting you. The Sleigher found himself sadly (which is to say happily!) transported.
LISTEN: The Mynabirds’ “All I Want Is Truth (for Christmas)”[audio:http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/files/2010/11/All-I-Want-is-Truth-for-Christmas.mp3]