Album review: A Cup of Kindness

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Out of the musically-gifted town of St. John’s, N.L., indie heavyweight Hey Rosetta! has released a seasonally-centered, four-song EP covering Christmas, wintertime and the oncoming New Year.

A Cup of Kindness involves a mixture of traditional carols and original compositions in Hey Rosetta!’s unique rock style.

Things open with “Carry Me Home,” a more upbeat track, akin to a Raffi song updated for an older audience. A bouncy piano keeps things happy over the rest of the band’s uplifting rhythm. Tim Baker leads some harmonizing, while lyrically it mixes traditional references like St. Steven and creatures stirring while also taking a more personal tangent on mothers and getting bus tickets on Christmas Eve.

The group then takes on the 19th-century hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” a more peaceful, slower-paced piece at first, building into some big, bluesy riffs and then a bigger shouting bit from Baker. Since the song has evolved over the last 150 or so years and its history can be traced back even further, there are a variety of verses and Hey Rosetta! chose three and spends a lot of time on the refrain/chorus.

Moving away from the religious overtones, “The First Snow” is a slowly building ballad as Baker uses a quiet moment from the winter as a chance for an introspective look. Less a happy Christmas carol for the kids as it is an acceptance of life, the cool musical choice compliments the thoughts well.

The seasonal session is wrapped up with a look back in “New Year Song,” which, like the others, starts off quietly and builds to something more, this time a singalong trumpet-led “Auld Lang Syne.”

To wrap up, this auditory gift to Hey Rosetta! fans is a holiday album not too filled with jingle bells and clichés that it will disenchant the bah-humbug types, but it’s still a set of songs fit to be brought out with the wreaths.