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What’s new in CDs

Josh Groban

Illuminations

(Reprise Records)

After what at least seems like some time out of the spotlight, Josh Groban is back with decidedly different sounds via Illuminations.

The singer, best known for his soaring interpretations of classically-driven pieces, has clearly opted to stretch creatively this time around right from the get-go with the whimsical instrumental and disc opener The Wandering Kind. Higher Window also showcases Groban in a quieter, more vocally intimate setting than much of his previous material would have allowed.

Bells of New York City sounds more like the Groban of past projects, but there’s a lighter feel to the tune that what might have been the case in previous CDs. But sometimes the desire to try something new misfires, as in the odd and rather unappealing Galileo (Someone Like You).

Generally, Groban seems to be looking for new paths to venture down and the results are mixed. Still, his inspiring and powerful vocal ability has always been front and centre and remains so here as well. If that’s what you ultimately find most compelling about him, Illuminations will certainly satisfy.

Rating: 3 out of 5

-Mark Weber

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