The festive season isn't just a time for blatant consumerism, excessive alcohol consumption and explosive family gatherings. That time off, just as the weather hots up and the pace slows down, is also rather conducive to a good ol' fashioned contemplation about the meaning of the silly season, and what's transpired in the year gone past. So when Traffic Sounds decided to ask some local artists of a certain introspective calibre to write and record exclusive tracks for an end-of-year extravaganza that became "I Don't Want Anything For Christmas", what resulted is a very different take on the usual cheesy Christmas record.
In fact each offering is a gorgeous slice of the Australian reality - sure there are the odd sleigh bells in the mix but you certainly won't find themes of roasting chestnuts or watching the snow flakes here. These artists were encouraged to remain true to their own festive experience as well as their own sound - no forced yuletide cheer.
Yet in light of this, we still find ourselves in relatively sanguine territory, from the wry humour of Kid Cornered's 'Dean versus Bing' where "all of the brothers-in-law are standing around eyeing off each other's wife" to the heartwarming ode of a daughter's first Christmas from The Woods Themselves in 'Saturnalia'.
We haven't even mentioned the tunes. Oh the music. If ever there was a reason to be humming Christmas themed songs in April, it could well be due to the gentle persuasion of 'Boxing Day '99' from El Mopa, its languid delivery disguising the beautifully discordant pop melody punctuated with an aching horn breakdown over the guitar solo.
Then there's the ecstatic release of guitars over the minimalist electronic arpeggio of Tugboat's 'Two Summers', reflecting the line "I wake up in the southern sun … there's so much summer falling on me" and transforming it into a stunning swirling pop song.
And let's not forget that the season continues on well past December 25. As Matt McBeath reminds us "I guess it's not the best time to fight as we approach the year's last night" on the lovelorn ballad 'New Year', it's good to keep it all in mind when the first of the first comes around.
So much can be left unsaid at this time of the year, but with any luck, this fine selection of songs with their lyrical brilliance and understated arrangements will find just the right words for you this Christmas.
BEEP2. Available December 2007. Compiled by Leigh Tran. Mastered by Casey Rice.
Launching in Melbourne - Saturday 8 December at Edinburgh Castle, Brunswick. Aleks and the Ramps, El Mopa, Single Twin, Matt McBeath, 8pm.