Sony Music Entertainment / Master Works
Just how versatile is the Yamaha electric cello? That’s the weird instrument that looks like a two by four with strings and an ampersand of a body. In the hands of Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, you can get anything from classic rock (“Oh, Well”) to metal (“Highway to Hell”) to church music (“Benedictus.”) This duo has ripped this otherwise sedate element of chamber quartets and main-line symphonies. They’ve retuned it to play well with feedback and show the cello’s got the depth and range to rip chords, the pitch to fluff up pop standards and the respectability to cover the latest hits without compromise.
The great thing about this collection is the songs range all over the board, yet 2Cellos’ dedication makes exciting, listenable music and not a novelty record. Besides the outstanding AC/DC cover, there’s a wonderful re-imagining of Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” assisted by Naya Rivera. I’ve never been a huge fan of Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” but here it takes on a somber and less smarmy tone. The melody is more subdued and the feedback-driven sound makes the cut feel vital. Last I’ll recommend a cover of Cher’s “Bang Bang.” This cut features Sky Ferreira. She’s more breathless and vulnerable and comes across as a desperate Marilyn Monroe, off stage and in dire straits. Cellos for hipsters? Hella yes. This trumps that worn-out indie garage sound.