Everyone loves a good cover version and Australian classical outfit Aston are here to show us what happens when good pop goes epic.
Everyone loves a good cover version and Australian classical outfit Aston are here to show us what happens when good pop goes epic. These six talented Sydney-siders are here to appeal to TV programmers everywhere with a collection that covers much-beloved artists across their self-titled debut, including INXS, La Roux and Rihanna. Basically, if classical interpretations of chart-topping tunes and classic hits appeals to you, then you’re in luck.
Most of Aston’s re-imaginings result in stunning compositions, their delicately performed instrumentals including a colourful pallet of cello, violin, guitar, piano and percussion. They succeed in creating a place in which pop and cinema seemingly collide, excelling in a likeness to an original soundtrack or score. Within this purview, Aston strive to preserve those melodies and hooks that have made the pieces they attempt here so infamous and ingrained in the public eye, but the group also display a keenness to surprise in the form of their own twists.
For all of Aston’s ingenuity within context, there are times when their interpretations fail to please and some selections even appear redundant. In the case of the latter, take Aston’s inclusion of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. The song is already known and loved in part for its prolific orchestration and, as a result, Aston hardly bring anything new to the table here. It’s a lovely rendition, sure, but it’s so comfortable with the original song that the experience proves underwhelming. Meanwhile, in the case of the former, their take on Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia is a disappointing affair, rejecting the furious energy of the original throughout much of the song. Not only that, its finale is relegated to a kind of Lord-Of-The-Rings Celtic-jig of which Michael Flatley would be proud. Thanks, but I’d rather rock out to Muse.
Ten tracks is probably just the right amount for an endeavour of this variety, as one stands to figure out Aston’s approach fairly soon into the record. A follow-up of the same nature would be a curious venture, but not necessarily a prudent decision as a result. As individual tracks, more often than not they’re beautiful renditions and each take is unique and in striking contrast to the original, but as a collection, proceedings eventually become predictable and the novelty of their tact wears off. A gorgeous, yet limited release.
Aston, Aston is out now through Warner Music