Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Norine Braun is welcoming December with a collection of both original and classic holiday tunes in December Falls. Her brand of blues-rock nostalgia mixes with shoegaze layers to distill the complex emotions of the holiday season.
Each of Braun’s original songs showcases what she has become known for: a seasoned songwriter with many awards to her name, this is an artist with a knowledge of structure and formation. The title track, “December Falls” is exemplary. The song hones in on melody while the guitar wafts with a simmering air and the keyboard hook draws you closer. “Poinsettia Pearl” is all danceability with rocking rhythm and piano slides. It’s both an original and a classic at once.
Braun lingers in jazzy refrains. “Solstice (The Day the Sun Stands Still)” is mischievous in its instrumentation, as is “Christmas Bell”, spotlighting the saxophone as a star player. Where the former finds its beauty in layered complexity, the latter is simpler in tone: a sweet mood for a season of care.
The covers more than emotional range. Braun moves from original creations to pop classics to classic-classics. Braun isn’t afraid to slip a little “O Christmas Tree / O Tannenbaum” or “I Saw 3 Ships” in with her nods to Wham! and Elvis. In fact, her cover of “Blue Christmas” matches the blues rock tone of the record seamlessly and connects with her original song “The Winter After Elvis Died” — a throwback to the 70s and a more turbulent kind of Christmas.
December Falls is a collection that bridges the new with the old, while always remaining fresh in its genre-jumble, all-soul musicality. This is rocking and rolling collection to add to your festive season.