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A JOHNNYSWIM Christmas – 2014 (Big Picnic)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Johnnyswim

With a seven-song EP, the singer-songwriter duo, Johnnyswim, comprised of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, proves how sometimes the best things really do come in small packages.

The project opens with an acoustic, acoustic guitar-colored original called "Christmas Day," which gently lists quite a number of good things about Christmas day. Most of this album is secular, lyrically, with an exception with the devout "O Come All Ye Faithful." Along the way, there's a nice nod to Peanuts gang with an instrumental snippet of "Christmas Time is Here." The project ends with a live version of "What Are You Doing New Years Eve."

The majority of these tracks lean toward the quieter side of Christmas. They sound closer to living room sing-alongs, rather than door-to-door choir carols. Sudano (Donna Summers' daughter) and Ramirez sound so pretty harmonizing together, even the depressing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" comes off sweet.

This EP's overall low-key nature is the perfect antidote to this season's usual sonic bombast. It's like shopping at a mom 'n' pop shop, rather than at the big mall department store. It'll help you have a merry little Christmas, with emphasis on the word 'little.'