The music is all shameless button-pushing of course, but maybe that's why it suits them.
Lyndsey Winship 2007
If you bought your mum/aunt/gran the Il Divo CD last Christmas and G4 the year before, then new classical boyband Blake should be top of this year's shopping list.
Blake are Jules, Stephen, Dominic and Ollie, four former choristers who found each other on online networking site Facebook and swiftly bagged themselves a record deal. They've got the well-bred good looks and classically trained voices to deliver the perfect pop-classical package, but the formula is totally anodyne. Backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and produced by Nick Patrick (Hayley Westenra, Russell Watson) this is a slick recording brimming with cliché, from syrupy strings and tinkling cymbals to arpeggiating guitars and an angelic chorus.
Blake lack the novelty value of G4 or the cheesy charisma of Il Divo, but they do steal the latter’s trick of translating pop songs to give them classical weight. So Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" becomes "Toglimi Il Resparo" and the Boyz II Men track "I'll Make Love to You" is renamed in Spanish, "Yo Te Voy a Amar". The passion is all in the song titles though, not the production.
The biggest travesty is a complete misunderstanding of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah", where they manage to extract the song's deep soul and turn it into a sugary music box ballad. Blake fare better with film soundtracks, and this album takes in Vangelis, Morricone and a reworking of Hans Zimmer's theme from Gladiator. The music is all shameless button-pushing of course, but maybe that's why it suits them.