This Time of Year – Maxine Linehan (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Maxine Linehan’s latest release certainly chimes perfectly with the sounds and sentiments of the season, a song about loss and longing, of how the natural world itself can usher in nostalgic thoughts and reflections. But it also stands apart from the usual musical fare too. Why? Because rather than being built from overused sonic tropes and tried and tested musical moves, it is a much more deftly constructed song.

Seemingly woven from delicate textures, understated gossamer sounds and almost classical grace, it is a much more ornate song than most of the holiday hullabaloo that it will find itself rubbing shoulders with. Christmas may be a time when consumerism seems to get the upper hand but This Time of Year doesn’t stoop to the obvious lowest common denominators that many opt for and instead creates something truly magical.

The music is sparsely used, gentle piano lines merging with emotive strings, allowing her gorgeous voice to sit front and centre. And what a voice she has, unsurprising from an artist who has made a name for herself reinterpreting classic songbooks from the biggest names in music, selling out shows from New York’s Lincoln Center to Paris’ famed Théâtre du Châtelet and everywhere in between.

This Time of Year, a calling card for an album of the same name, is a reminder that even in the popular and mass consumed realms of holiday music, there is still room to offer something tasteful, full of gorgeous delicacy and poise. Christmas music doesn’t have to just be for Christmas…this is all the proof that you could ask for.

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