Sometimes there are moments where the stars of New Zealand culture align so perfectly that you almost have to pinch yourself to realise you're not in some scary-utopian Kiwi dream. Sol3 Mio's Christmas album is of those moments. Not only does the trio sing about spending Christmas in summer, but it arrives with a glowing endorsement from none other than broadcasting queen Judy Bailey, thanking Sol3 Mio for giving Christmas a "uniquely Kiwi feel".
She's partially right; A Very Merry Christmas does offer a summery spin on a few notable Christmas songs. If you belong to the small portion of the population to whom Christmas music isn't a panic-inducing nightmare, this album would make for a pleasant summer listen; if you belong to the other group, it's at the very least bearable. Sol3 Mio's vocal talents are undeniably sublime, with crisp and beautiful harmonies delivered in droves, and the playful guitars and ukuleles are a welcome reprieve from the world of Dean Martin strings and sleigh bells.
But ultimately, the album falls short of following through on its promise. A number of covers fail to register as they reference "snow" and "mistletoe"; it seems a bit of a missed opportunity to release a "Kiwi" Christmas album and only really get halfway there. A Very Merry Christmas is described as a "much-requested" album on Sol3 Mio's website, so fans of the trio will undoubtedly be in for a treat. Those less partial to Christmas music in general would best be advised to avoid.
Sol3 Mio, A Very Merry Christmas
Artist: Sol3 Mio
Album: A Very Merry Christmas
Verdict: A very merry Christmas indeed - but not a very refreshing one