Jazz seems to be enjoying a quiet revival in 2017. Trumpet and saxophone leads like those found on Naturally, the sophomore album by festively named local act Father Christmas, are gaining popularity, but rarely do they work as well as they do here. Songs like "The Fall" and the skittering scat freakout ending of "Sleazy" are pure hipster jazz coolness. It's a neat mix, blending the horns with a guitar tone that would sound weak under most circumstances, but here gives the band a warm backdrop to play against.
Unfortunately, the non-jazzy parts of Naturally, like "The Square," never quite stand on their own, and end up running over the same indie dream pop that bands like Fleet Foxes have been releasing for a decade. It's a shame, because in its most exciting, sax-led moments, Naturally sounds like it could be a good addition to an indie scene in need of some fresh ideas.
Father Christmas have struck a niche, one that could carry them far if they let it. More of that, please, boys. (Chezz Records)