Album review: Gareth Malone, Voices (Decca)


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The Independent Culture

Gareth Malone deserves credit for popularising singing as a social, community activity rather than a staging-post to celebrity, but as this album demonstrates, there are limits to the aptness of the choral approach. On a work specifically written for the medium, such as Paul Mealor's "Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal", the burring murmur of baritones and soft caress of distant sopranos are arranged with subtle spatial attention; but elsewhere, the likes of Radiohead's "No Surprises" gain little from the procedure, while the whispered hubbub of Death Grips' "Guillotine" is repellent. Best of the secular pop treatments are Fleet Foxes' exultant round "White Winter Hymnal" – little changed here – and Bon Iver's "Calgary".

Download: Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal; Calgary; White Winter Hymnal