Three Graces: Their Debut Album
Classical Crossover has become a huge market since Sarah Brightman and Vanessa-Mae began to lead the way in the mid-nineties, and the genre has suffered plenty of quick market ploys on young singers and instrumentalists that are not expected to last, but the companies can get their quick buck, and it’s an achievement for the artists to get a second album.
Decca, the same label that homes Hayley Westenra, however, has bigger plans for this classical pop girl group that have been dubbed as the female Il Divo. The effort put into this group is easy to see scanning the names of the producers and song-writers – some of the biggest names in America. The album is slick and the production is squeakingly polished. The three girls are stunning to look at and are brought in from different areas of music in the same way the UK’s All Angels were. The image of the group is effective; the name refers to Greek Mythology where the Three Graces were ‘beauty’, ‘wisdom’ and ‘charm’, three componants that their marketing team claim to be traits that shine through their vocal performances.
Unlike other classical crossover artists, Three Graces really thrust the pop side in, as there are not really any classical pieces on the disc (do not let the song title ‘Requiem’ mislead you; it’s a pop song), and seem to flaunt the classical brand merely by changing English lyrics into different languages. Even so, the majority of the album is sung in English, and would make a very good starting point for anyone just beginning to explore crossover. None of the vocals are particularly operatic, rather, they are explosive, powerful and belty. This album is just an inch away from abandoning crossover altogether and being a full blown pop album, but the classical influence is definitely there.
The material has pop covers, but has a large amount of original songs. For classical crossover, this is a special trait to have. The reason I rate this album so highly is because there are only two tracks on this whole album that I have ever come across; this is so depressingly rare for a crossover album. Groups like this will keep the genre fresh and new, which has become such a struggle over the past several years. There are only so many renditions of ‘Nella Fantastia’, ‘Time To Say Goodbye’, and ‘Pie Jesu’s that we want to hear.
The quality of the original songs are a tad formulaic but they are of decent quality, songs such as ‘I Wish’ and ‘1000 Pieces’ have their catchy hooks by their own right and help to make this album memorable and worthwhile. Their rendition of Snow Patrol‘s ‘Run’ may seem a little obsolete after Leona Lewis‘s storming success with her cover, but the Spanish lyrics and the different vocal interpretations make it relevent. Their cover of ‘Against All Odds’ may have been a mistake but the language change seems to justify it for them.
The girls are yet to be released and marketed in the UK but I’d advise for anyone to get a head start. I do not think this group is for seasoned classical goers, or even seasoned crossover fans as they are more pop than anything else, but they make a fantastic introduction. If you still love a good pop album every now and again, and if you love Josh Groban, this might just be up your street.