Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert: Ghost Stories for Christmas review

Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 07:00


Ghost Stories for Christmas

Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert

Rock Action Records


A grey-patchwork beard, kind expression, and matured cadence makes Aidan Moffat, formerly of 1990s slowcore outfit Arab Strap, the quintessential contemporary Claus.

Shortly after Moffat and collaborator RM Hubbert released their debut album, Here Lies the Body, the pair began writing Christmas songs in the sweltering summer heat.

The majority of the 10 songs are delivered as intimate and engaging spoken-word pieces, in which Moffat is adept in the role of storyteller with his soothing Scottish accent. Often, the tales are underpinned with mournful narratives. Despite this, humour peeks through like a minuscule bauble amid tiers of green pine.

The breadth of this record hears Moffat recount the ruthless lifespan of a Christmas tree (The Fir Tree), perform a beautiful rendition of Lonely This Christmas, and give Yazoo’s Only You an acoustic reimagining.

The treatment of the arrangements on Ghost Stories for Christmas, while tempered with festive tones and textures – crackling fires, bells chiming – are subtle in their seasonality.

This makes this a collection of songs that can be enjoyed outside of the restrictive timeframe for Christmas albums.