To know him is to love him: lo-fi glam-cracker is coming to town he’s never really left.
Lately, Gary Wilson may have become a household name in avant-garde circles, and these circles are widening thanks to his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, but the veteran’s own house remains – at least, in creative terms – firmly rooted in the past, which is just the right state for a Yuletide album. Reminiscences abound, the singer can look into a crystal ball, a seasonal globe of sorts, to see his hometown and make “It’s Snowing In Endicott” sparkle with festive rumination, yet while the perky “A Date For New Year’s Eve” has a whiff of a perfect gift to it, the shift of “A Christmas Tree For Two” from a one-voice doo-wop to retrofuturistic synth-pop, via Chinese tune for a chorus and an undercurrent, is genuinely beguiling.
There’s a disco glitter sprinkled all over “A Sled Ride Tonight” that’s surprisingly dry and, therefore, cozy, unlike the sax-oiled soulful “Cindy Wants To Cry” where mellifluous tears are being shed. But if “She Danced Near The Frozen Lake” paints its imagery into an elegiac piano tune of a jazz stripe, the artist succeeds in finding joy in “Santa Claus Is Coming To My Lonely Town” as if to snatch “Lonely Holiday” – a piece bookending the record, whose crazy cinematic shimmer is reflected in musique concrète behind “The Snow” – back from Grinch’s greedy grip. Quite a good pastime, really.