Review by Shannon Shumaker
Janet Devlin was made to sing Christmas songs - it’s as simple as that. The soft spoken singer/songwriter only released her most recent album, Running With Scissors back in February, but her Christmas EP, titled December Daze doesn’t feel rushed or unnecessary by any means. Instead, Devlin's soothing voice lulls you into relaxation and is sure to make even the least festive people excited for the holidays.
“December Daze” opens up the EP, and it is impossible not to fall in love with the title track. Devlin’s cozy and comforting voice is warm, making it easy to imagine yourself sitting in front of a fire, drinking hot cocoa on Christmas morning. The lyrics aren’t cheesy, as many Christmas songs tend to be. Instead, they paint a picture and convey Devlin’s excitement for wintertime, and the mood is totally infectious. Following “December Daze” is Janet Devlin’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s emotional and somber, “River.” Though the lyrics are nowhere near as cheerful as “December Daze,” Devlin’s voice has a way of making even a somber song sound bright and beautiful. The song choice isn’t one that most people would expect for this EP, but it proves to be rather brilliant, showing yet another side of Janet Devlin, even on a Christmas EP.
It’s no surprise, however, that Devlin’s cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is just as warm and comforting to listen to as “December Daze.” It seems as if her voice is just perfect for lullabies like this song, and though her rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” nearly lulls you to sleep toward the end, it isn’t any less beautiful than the rest of the EP. “Happy Holidays,” follows “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” however, and is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. This track is upbeat and fun, with catchy vocal melodies and chanting toward the end of the song that is absolutely infectious. “Happy Holidays” differs from the usual sleepy and soft Christmas songs, providing a good contrast with the two songs that it is sandwiched in between. It serves as the perfect track to shake things up before the EP comes to a mellow close with “Silent Night.”
Though it is only five songs in length, December Daze is a captivating listen. The great thing about this EP is that Devlin doesn’t sacrifice her personality or her unique sound for the sake of covering classic Christmas songs. Instead, she puts her own spin on her covers while shaking things up with her original tracks. If you’re looking for something to get you excited for winter, this is the EP for you.
Listen to "Happy Holidays"