Christmas in Reno by Cassie Ramone

Cassie Ramone has presented us with her second solo offering since leaving Vivian Girls, Christmas in Reno. In it she mixes the same whispy, hopeless and mildly depressive tone of her first solo album, The Time Has Come, with an odd seasonal twist.

The album is made up entirely of covers of well-known Christmas classics, such as, ‘Wonderful Christmastime’, ‘Rockin Around the Xmas Tree’, ‘The Christmas Song’ and ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’. The opening track, ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’, gives off a general Christmas-at-Jack-the-Ripper’s-House vibe, with Ramone’s voice echoing against some sad, belated jingling. Whilst the lyrics “They’re singing ‘Deck The Halls’/But it’s not like Christmas at all”, make me wonder how this was ever became the jolly Christmas banger of Darlene Love and Mariah Carey. ‘Sleigh Ride’ is perhaps the most cheery song on the album, with Ramone’s monotonous yet ethereal voice being put against a marginally more upbeat backing rhythm.

If the album can be afforded any deeper meaning, then you could see how Ramone is attempting to create a sense of disillusionment with the joys of Christmas. The mellow tone and slow plodding rhythm conveys more of a heart-breaking loneliness than images of roasting chestnuts and Yule-tide carols in ‘The Winter Song’. Depending on how much of a hard-core Christmas fanatic you are, Ramone’s twist on these classics can be quite refreshing and more representative of a Christmas where all you want to do is delete your family members and drown yourself in turkey.

Once you get past the initial mental image of a serial killing Santa dancing around his victims, the album is actually quite calming; perfect for nursing those Boxing Day hangovers whilst still clinging to the all-pardoning excuse “yeah but, it’s Christmas…”.


Olivia Raine

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