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28 March 2013

2Cellos shine on second album

Since posting a cello-only cover of “Smooth Criminal” to YouTube in 2011, 2Cellos has taken over the classical music charts. The Croatian cello duo’s first album, “2CELLOS,” reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard’s top classical albums.

Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser recently released their second album, “In2ition,” which shows the dynamic duo is working as hard as ever. The collaborations and covers on this album are on another level.

“In2ition” opens with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” which properly builds the momentum up for the rest of the album; the twist is that Elton John accompanies Hauser and Sulic on the track. The collaboration is not a total surprise – as Elton is known for being a fan of the duo – but it’s definitely a remarkable way to open an album.

The next track, “We Found Love,” is an unexpected choice, but Hauser and Sulic do it justice. The build-ups before and after the choruses are unbelievable. They took the original recording and made a flawless raw version of it.

Rihanna’s hit single is followed by a rendition of “Highway to Hell” that proves the cellists can succeed in any genre. This AC/DC cover – as well as their rendition of “Technicall Difficulties” by Racer X – shows they can rock just as hard as a metal band. And guitarist Steve Vai proves to be the perfect addition to the track.

Compared to the other covers on the album, The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” is underwhelming. But of course, it’s nothing less than stellar. It just would’ve made more sense on “2CELLOS.” However, the next track, “Supermassive Black Hole,” takes a well-known Muse song and revamps it. Naya Rivera’s vocals are perfect for the cover.

Coldplay’s “Clocks” is not an unexpected song choice, but the rendition is beautiful. Pianist Lang Lang’s accompaniment on the track is perfect. It adds flavor to what has become an overplayed song.

The most impressive track on the album is by far the duo’s cover of “Bang Bang” by Sonny and Cher. It’s unexpected in a good way, making it the best song choice on the album. Sky Ferreira’s voice lies perfectly over Sulic and Hauser’s lines.

The next tracks are also strong: the recreation of electronic dance sounds in “Voodoo People” and the cover of “Candle in the Wind” are impressive. The duo’s original track, “Orient Express,” is beautiful. It references a passenger train that passes through Paris, Istanbul and Croatia. The song’s steady beat and rhythm allude to this reference.

The last two tracks – “Il Libro Dell’Amore” featuring Italian singer Zucchero and “Benedictus” – are more reminiscent of the duo’s first album: they’re simple yet beautiful.

No genre is left untouched on “In2ition.” Every rendition is performed flawlessly and the changes made from the last album to this new release – the variety of genres and the addition of vocals – are impressive.