November 19, 2015 Janet Devlin – December Daze (Album Review)
The twenty-one year old from Northern Ireland may not have been the winner of The X-Factor UK, but it did not deter Janet Devlin from fulfilling her musical destiny to shine. Devlin recorded her debut collection of songs, Hide and Seek, in 2013, followed up with going on several tours, including the X-Factor Live Tour, and even topped UK charts in 2014 with the release of her sophomore album, Running with Scissors. With her unique, delicate voice, mixed with the Pop/Folk sound, Devlin’s sound is one people did not think they wanted to hear, but now want more of. Inspired by a trip to New York City, Devlin decided to write a holiday themed song, and as the holidays are steadily creeping closer, it is the perfect time for some heartwarming cheer. Set for release on Friday, November 27th, if listeners are expecting yet another boring cover of “All I Want For Christmas,” then they would be wrong with Devlin’s latest work. However, if listeners wants new Christmas songs to add to their collection, while also having some of the tried and true, then December Daze is the perfect early Christmas treat.
Five tracks in total, Devlin kicks it off with an original song, and also the title of the EP, “December Daze.” Her voice is always the most noticeable aspect of her songs because of the way she mixes a higher pitch with a sultry sound. Violins, pianos, acoustic guitar, and bells come together to make a song that is perfect for a Christmas lullaby. She then pays respect to the great Joni Mitchell with the song “River,” starting off with the piano, sounding simply beautiful and relaxing.
Of course there are the classics, and the next song is a cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Again, vocals are key to this rendition, which being simply with Devlin’s voice and a keyboard. The fragile key tones is really all that it needs because Devlin’s voice has the melody and makes one want to curl up by the fire with some egg nog.
Following these several slow lullaby like songs, she hits one with a happy, original jingle, “Happy Holidays.” Jingling of bells, guitar, fiddling violin, and upbeat holiday lyrics make for a delightful listen that is far from boring. Then, like that, December Daze closes with a totally A cappella version of “Silent Night.” With just her voice on the track, the inflection and emotion gives the listener a sense of comfort and leaves them with chills.
Need to freshen up that Christmas playlist? December Daze is that perfect break from the norm complemented by Devlin’s voice, the simplicity of the instruments, new Christmas songs, as well as the fan-favorites. Christmas songs often tend to all have a similar kind of sound and Devlin takes those usual suspects and turns them into her own magical Winter journey. Furthermore, those interested in purchasing the EP, there are a wonderful variety of package options available on Pledgemusic.com, including one which features a personalized ’Season’s Greetings’ card, exclusive vinyl stickers, double-sided art card, and a festive signed Polaroid. Happy Holidays indeed, and for that, CrypticRock gives December Daze 5 out of 5 stars.