What happens when a group of young British boys get together and start singing? Internationally acclaimed success apparently. At least that’s what happened with the singing youngsters of Libera, a group of South London boys between the ages of seven and fourteen. New Dawn marks their fourth album. The previous three (Angel Voices, Free and Visions) were fairly successful around the world, particularly in the United States, Great Britain, Korea and Japan. New Dawn is the result of a world tour and frequent performances throughout 2007. And while it’s abundantly clear from the tracks here that the boys have beautiful voices, the overall feel of the album is a bit melancholy and repetitive to really enjoy fully.
Opening with a beautifully moving and impressively orchestrated version of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” makes for a surprisingly strong beginning, but the placement is both bold and a bit misleading, as the majority of the music here is classical. Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy,” which the boys sang at the end of 2007 in the Kennedy Center Opera House to honor Brian Wilson himself, is a very welcome addition as well. It’s tracks like these that show how much the boys can do with more standard musical fare, but these two tracks also highlight the lack of more music of this style.
But that’s not to say the rest of the album is unenjoyable, it’s just not as interesting. TheÂ more traditional pieces (“Ave Maria,” “Gloria” and “Sancte,” to name a few) are still moving, they just don’t have that ring of uniqueness and surprise that the more poppy songs bring out. Tracks like “Never Be Alone” (featuring soaring solos by Joshua Madine, Tom CullyÂ and Joseph Snelling) and “May the Road Rise Up” deliver an uplifting message and a genuine display of singing talent and production value. The electronic beat in the background of “Never Be Alone” helps set the perfect tone for the track. And the crescendo in “Jerusalem” will impress even the most anti-choir listener.
This is an album of almost overpowering beauty, but once you’ve heard a few tracks they begin to blend with each other a bit. While no one can argue that these boys can sing and that they’ve got a great production team backing them up, it’d be nice to see a bit more variation in their choice of music.
Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Those who can’t get enough of choir music
Stay Away if: You’re looking for more pop covers
If you only buy one, make it this one: “Love and Mercy” – even Brian Wilson loves it
To purchase New Dawn, visit Amazon