You are here: Albums > Display Review

Robin Denselow of The Guardian

reviews Frost Bites by Belshazzar's Feast

The new British folk movement has done well when it comes to that dreaded seasonal offering, the Christmas album. So those seeking an alternative to Andrea Bocelli's pop-classical bestseller My Christmas, or even to Dylan's croaking treatment of Hark the Herald Angels Sing on his patchy Christmas in the Heart, should look closer to home. Kate Rusby has been the best so far with Sweet Bells (which is rereleased this Christmas) but this new set from Belshazzar's Feast is also worth checking out. The band ≠consists of two strong instrumentalists, with Paul Hutchinson playing accordion and Paul Sartin (best-known for his work with Bellowhead) adding violin, oboe, cor anglais and sturdy, no-≠nonsense vocals. Their material is ≠impressively varied, from an 18th-≠century Appalachian version of Cherry Tree Carol (in which Jesus is born on January 5, following the Julian calendar) to a courtly dance piece from France, and carols from across Britain. The duo are famed for their on-stage humour, but here it's the quality of their playing that stands out.