Album: B For Bang, Across the Universe of Languages (KML)

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The Independent Culture

Pop and classical are rarely comfortable bedfellows, usually resulting either in pop stained with pompous self-regard, or emasculated orchestral music with the wheedling tone of a trendy vicar.

In that light, the chamber-music combo B For Bang's avant-garde versions of Beatles songs are a breakthrough of sorts, merely by avoiding both traps. But at what cost? They've rendered once-likeable tunes virtually unlistenable, the melodies scurrying for their lives in an undergrowth of lugubrious cello and organ, cacophonous piano and stalking pizzicato, often wielded with little regard for mood or meaning.

It's perhaps understandable to treat "Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite" like a Weimar cabaret piece, but the chamber-punk "Helter Skelter" and the ghastly antagonism imposed upon "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" are unforgiveable. "Golden Slumbers" is better, while glistening guitar harmonics and resonant piano make "Julia" the most appealing piece. But none challenges, nor illuminates, the originals.

Download this: 'Julia', 'Golden Slumbers'