The Collabro boys have had a wild ride haven’t they? After only a month together, they perform on Britain’s Got Talent, then the next thing you know they’re on stage in front of the Queen, before releasing a number one album. That’s what you call quick work, and not content with this supersonic rise to fame, they’ve only gone and released another album, aptly named Act Two. The question is, can they recreate the passion, skill and subtlety of the first record?
If you didn’t know, Collabro are famed for taking songs and covering them in a unique and clever way, mostly with a more classical sound and searing, intricate vocals. Act Two continues this theme, and there are some real surprises in there. A version of Kodaline’s All I Want kicks us off, and the slow and meaningful take on the track really shows off what Collabro are all about. This song wouldn’t feel out of place on a Lord of The Rings Soundtrack, as Sam and Frodo carry the ring of power over to Mordor. I won’t Give Up carries on the pop song cover theme by tackling Jason Mraz; taking his well known song, the band turn it into a different beast altogether by slowing it down, stripping it back and using bass and low tones to bring it out of it’s shell. The vocals act individually before seamlessly mixing as one, and are testament to their skilled talents.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is a cover of The Rembrandts I’ll Be There For You, known the world over as being the theme song from Friends. Most people would think to even attempt this is sacrilegious, but somehow they pull it off. How they get so much love and sincerity from the track that’s been heard by every man and his dog in the original format is beyond me, and it’s testament to their skills of manipulation.
For the most, they really bring something new and different from the tracks they cover, but there are a couple of hiccups along the way. Memory, made famous by the musical Cats, feels a little too close to the original, whereas the cover of The Lion King classic, Circle of Life, just doesn’t feel as powerful or have the grandeur of the original. These were difficult tracks to even attempt, however, and the boys should be commended for even trying them.
But they do prove they can cover the big ones, by taking on Freddie himself with Who Wants To Live For Ever. It’s an interesting version, and although they don’t have the guile and showmanship of Freddie, they manage to bring something out of the music with their playful interchanging vocals, which support each other right until the end; team spirit is what brings this track to the forefront.
Act Two is, for the most, a genuine pleasure to listen to, and shows off how they have progressed, even in this short time. They might have gotten a little too ambitious with a couple of the tracks, but where they get it right glosses over these small blips in a big way. If you thought Collabro had nothing else up their sleeves, think again, because Act Two has some hidden gems that need to be heard.