Album: Kate Rusby, While Mortals Sleep (Pure)

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The Independent Culture

A second album of Christmas songs associated with South Yorkshire, some secular, some sacred, one original, all sung in familiar uninhabited style, without affect, almost as if to make the arrangements the point of the exercise.

And guitar, accordion, double bass and brass do their job nicely enough. Here's a vision of Christmas as a time of retrenchment, warm as a pair of Kate's socks and about as complex. Highlight? A lovely, if uninvolved, take on "O Little Town of Bethlehem".