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HO HO WHO: Sad-sack U.K. indie-folk outfit Slow Club‘s EP of Christmas songs contains three originals—-with titles like “It’s Christmas and You’re Boring”—-and three covers, including two Darlene Love songs, “All Alone at Christmas” and the classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” as well as “Silent Night.” It’s basically a miniature dissertation on how to do yuletide misery right, and how to do it very, very wrong.

THE MULLED CIDER: Kermit the Frog could sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” in Finnish backed by a recorder ensemble drunk on peppermint schnapps, and it’d still be the best holiday torch song ever (even though one of the song’s writers, Phil Spector, will likely spend his remaining Christmases behind bars). Slow Club can’t match <strong>THE STORE-BRAND EGG NOG: </strong>The entire EP is Christmas in the most dejected key imaginable—-which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—-but no song grates as much as the title track. It’s a sweet-sounding pop waltz in the <em>American Bandstand </em>vein, which eventually opens into a loud, rollicking, gang-vocal coda (not unlike <strong>Arcade Fire</strong>’s ” wake up the entire affair is sunk by watson>Conor Oberst-esque whine. “Christmas, thanks for nothing,” he moans in a voice that could belong to a wet goat. “You made a doubter out of me.”

CHEER FACTOR: 6/10, in a hurts-so-good kinda way.

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