For many, songs about Christmas are as much a part of the jollity of the holiday season as opening presents or getting progressively drunk in front of awful Christmas TV specials. Good ones can get you feeling festive and excited about every day you peel off your advent calendar, or remind you of memories from Christmases past. Although it’s not just the cheesy ones that resonate, there have been some rather fantastic more alternative takes on the Christmas song which are equally adored such as the brilliantly sarcastic ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses or the infamous slanging match between The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl on ‘Fairytale of New York’. Surely then, it’s encouraging for all fans of the slightly more unconventional Christmas song, that Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler have included into their Christmas album, songs about Zombies and Surfing, while somehow managing to link them to Christmas.

Well, in fairness this record does still succumb to many a feature of the typical Christmas song, but with Emma & Tim in control, the record might well be one of the most engaging, fun and occasionally adorable Christmas records ever. Musically, it’s quite different to both of their previous outputs, the Ash man and the folk songstress’ distinct vocals combining to make something as touching as an Emmy The Great record and as joyously upbeat and thrilling as anything from Ash’s back catalogue, but still very different to both musical projects.

Opener ‘Marshmallow World’ is a sleigh bell heavy romp, with silly lyrics about a “Yummy yummy world made for sweethearts” which comes across as enchanting and would put a smile on even the biggest Scrooge’s face. It’s along the same lines of ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ by Mel & Kim and a rousing start to the record. Elsewhere ‘Christmas Moon’ is also very stereotypical with Emmy’s cooing taking lead vocals. It acts as a more laid back swaying track, to perhaps be enjoyed beside a warm fireplace rocking slowly back and forth while the snow envelopes everything outside your window. Similarly, single ‘Home For The Holidays’ is a beautifully nostalgic track about rekindling love as Tim recalls “I pass the corner and the cinema we used to go to, it feels like nothing’s changed” before the two of them erupt into a memorable and delightful chorus.

The albums best moments though, are the previously mentioned slightly off beat concept tracks. ‘Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)’ is particularly fantastic and manages to be quirky without becoming irritating very well, as Tim does his best Brian Wilson impression while summery guitars buzz and vibrate behind him. ‘Zombie Christmas’ meanwhile features frantic ticking guitar while Emmy recounts “Everyone in town had to run for their lives, I couldn’t even check if my gift had arrived” in a charmingly nonchalant manner. Both songs are perfect examples of why this album holds so much more than any bog-standard supermarket Christmas album, and the many ideas expressed throughout the record are constantly engaging and even heart-warming.

In a year that Michael Bublé and She & Him are both releasing predictably dire Christmas efforts, rest assured that Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler’s is the only one worth buying and has enough great bits in it to transcend the holiday season and perhaps become a record that can be listened to all year round, if you need a jolly good cheering up.