Deas Vail released their split EP with Farewell Flight in June, but the EP was only a prelude to the band's self-titled release in October. Now, to cap off an eventful and solid year, the group's final offering of the calendar comes in the form of a four-song Christmas EP, For Shepherds & Kings.
I'm typically not that big of a fan of the more contemporary Christmas song "Do You Hear What I Hear," but Deas Vail pulls off their version of the song well. Their indie pop flavor makes the song stand out, and the vocals and the bridge music are almost magical. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is a likable, upbeat tune that features a folk feel. Wes Blaylock's lead vocals, some background vocals during the chorus, and an acoustic guitar provide more of the sound for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." The classic song works and is a good addition to the EP, but the track isn't by any means overwhelming. Deas Vail offers a slightly altered lyrical version of "Coventry Carol," a piece centering on Matthew 2:16-18, the account of the aftermath of Herod's plan to kill the infant Savoir. The lyrics themselves are bleak and Deas Vail's melancholy music is equally haunting.
Although "Coventry Carol" is not necessarily a Christmassy song per se, the rest of the EP is a well-rounded selection of classics made memorable by Deas Vail's indie style. For Shepherds & Kings is a good group of holiday tunes that is hopefully a precursor to a future, full-length Christmas project.- Review date: 11/28/11, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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