Album: Kate Rusby, Sweet Bells, (Pure)

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The Independent Culture

South Yorkshire is noted for its carol singing, it says here. So it is with a peal of bright yet strangely unsurprising bells that Barnsley's foremost curly-wurly delivers herself of a Christmas album. Fair play.

Her arrangements are charming (guitars, accordion, bass, horns), her choice of songs a nice blend of secular and non-secular, her voice as prettily uninhabited as it has been for some time. A coolly formalist set, then, in which melody functions as a frame on which to hang an arranger's skills.

Pick of the album: 'Candlemas Eve': girlish loveliness with a hint of inner life

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