All Angels’ “Into Paradise”

I am never one to fall for the pure marketing artists that are spewed out by record companies jumping the crossover bandwagon these days, and whilst these girls are yet another product thrust into our faces around Christmas time and Mother’s Day I find myself enjoying their music immensely.

When they first appeared, I was quick to throw them in with your Angelis and your Il Divo. Their album is sure to be pretty, I thought to myself, but there will not be much else to it. Yes, Universal Classics are still trying to get their cash in whilst the fad is still in fashion, and yes, the girls are just puppets at this point, with polite nods to their record company that jump when they are told to. Yes, the format is set, there and ready, for Christmas shoppers to buy. Pretty, pure, white girls with pretty voices, singing some easy listening contemporary classics and pop songs in the most mild of ways. But in some cases you have to wonder why you care about how they are marketed and why they exist in the first place, and the sound that they produce in this album has caused such a case to emerge within me.

Pure and simple, this album is a good listen. Certainly, there is nothing original or ground breaking here but that was never their point to begin with. All Angels offer some beautifully, mildly sweeping orchestrations, designed to highlight their harmonies, which are, quite frankly, top notch. They’re not opera singers and they’re not power driven, but together they create something even more powerful than a single voice could ever produce.

The track list, in total crossover fashion has your pop covers (and some fine choices this time round), sacred arias and classical pieces. There is something to please every crossover fan’s ear. Among the pop covers we have the ever frequent Coldplay popping up, and no, it is not ‘Fix You’! Their pure voices really offer ‘The Scientist’ a new dimension that makes the song more melancholy than you may have heard it before. ‘Nothing Compares to You’ is another crossover standard, simply because it works extremely well, and it is no exception here. It does not have the emotional pull of the original but the girls pour their heart into it nonetheless. The definite highlight for me is ‘Singing You Through’ which lyrically complements the Angels perfectly as they sing of birds singing you through, as they do.  Their ‘Sull’ Aria’ may annoy some purists but they bring the classic to a wide audience with their superior vocal arrangements. Brunning‘s ‘Pie Jesu’ is also a welcome addition.

The drawback of this album is that any emotion drawn from it is actually just from the beauty of the voices, rather than the emotions that the songs themselves should evoke. This album is certainly not an album for all occasion or all moods, which is where it loses substance, but if you quite happy with the idea that you will listen to this mainly when you want to relax or have a good soak in the bath, then there is no reason why you should not take the plunge, because it will certainly do that job extremely well.

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