Celloverse, by 2Cellos
Suggested by Phillip Staines
First, have you seen these guys? Amazing. Such a great album cover. They’re like a brooding Ant and Dec, the porn parody of Supernatural’s Sam and Dean Winchester, or a twilight Jedward.
Second, they’ve used a number in their name.
They’re not the first to do so in this project. I’ve reviewed The 4 of Us, +44, Zero 7, and 2NE1. Of these, the true offenders are 2Cellos and 2NE1, as they have the bare-faced cheek to create single words that combine both letters and numbers like some hideous Frankenword. Sorry, Fr4nkenw0rd.
With 2NE1 you’ve the added complication of pronunciation (is it Too-Anyone, or is it Tooney-One?), but I still think the worst culprit is 2Cellos. At least 2NE1 is attempting to be clever on some level. 2Cellos sounds like something imagined on Day 1 of Band Naming School. It’s the Catchphrase Roy Walker Say-What-You-See aesthetic that gets my goat. It’s like naming your rock band 16Strings, or naming ZZTop 3Beards.
2Cellos are a pair of classically trained cellists from Slovakia / Croatia, who specialise on releasing instrumental versions of well-known pop and rock songs. They’ve released five albums thus far, have toured as support for Elton John, and have been featured on TV shows such as Glee and The Batchelor.
Initially, this set up has me in a quandary. I do enjoy an unorthodox cover version, such as Tori Amos playing Slayer’s Reign in Blood on her piano, but I’m no real fan of the classical conceit. I didn’t rate S&M by Metallica, which gave their back catalogue a symphonic orchestral sheen, and I didn’t rate Haydn’s Cello concertos either.
I feel the strength of this album will be dependant on the songs on offer, and my prior relationship to them. Celloverse starts with Iron Maiden’s The Trooper, and contains a full five songs I recognise (Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Sting, Michael Jackson, Paul and Linda McCartney), a selection of songs I don’t (Marcus Mumford, Muse, Hans Zimmer, Avicii, Radiohead, and an original track). It’s more misses than hits, so salvation does not dwell within.
Finally, the layered cellos are mapped beautifully, and the arrangements are very creative and fun, but at their heart, they’re still just damn cellos. The sound is still that slightly raspy bow-on-strings hum, and while I admire the form, the music can’t really outpace the limitations of the instrument no matter how skilled the players.
My standout song on Celloverse is likely Live and Let Die, which features some sterling piano work, but I was always a fan of the original (and GnR) version. Your favourite will be whatever song has the most history with you.
I give 2Cellos 5/10 for Celloverse. It’s pleasant enough, but not perfect. Having checked their back catalogue track listings, I think I’d get a lot more from their debut album, as that contains far more personally resonant songs than this.