Album: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Come Darkness, Come Light, (Zoe/Rounder)

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The Independent Culture

"Twelve Songs of Christmas", declares the subtitle, promising a feast of genteel cliché and righteous cheer.

And that's what we get, voiced in Mary's mumsy baritone, cushioned in Grammy-grabbing micro-arrangements and pitched squarely at the non-evangelistic sensibility in its buttoned-up cardie. Mary wrote half of the songs, a motley of Rutters and Trads the others. Kindness, goodwill and universal love are everywhere, not to mention the crunch of snow under Ugg boots. Excruciatingly cosy.

Pick of the album: 'Christmas Carol': Mary gets real at Christmas