Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Portland Cello Project

A few weeks ago, I came across a cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic" by The Portland Cello Project. The band is exactly what it you think it would be - a bunch of musicians playing traditional, classical instruments. Their version of the song was every bit as catchy as the original, but minus the cheese of Britney's sex kitten act. I don't know if you have to like the original to like the cover, but I'm going to admit that I do. If you think about it, it's the fast string part in the background that makes the song what it is. So in my opinion, it was perfect for this group to pick up on that and reinterpret it.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard an original Portland Cello Project song today and it's beauty nearly made me cry. There's always been something about the sound of strings, and in particular the cello, that really hits me through the heart. "Horse Feathers: Mother's Sick" is very simple in its instrumentation, and it's paired with a vocalist that complements the delicate strings perfectly. There's a vulnerability to his voice that contrasts with the drama of the music, so that it's touching but not over the top.

You can hear "Toxic" and "Horse Feathers: Mother's Sick" (Highly Recommended!!) on the Let's Trade Muxtape. Their Myspace page also has several more songs and videos that you can check out.

By the way, the above photo was shot by the excellent Alicia J. Rose, who does all of The Decemberists' theatrical promo pics.

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