The Choir Boys - The Carols Album

Matt Clutton 16/12/2007

Rating: 4/5

The concept of the world's first choir boy band came to light back in 2005 when Universal Records began auditions across the country with the premise of plugging a gap in the market. Thankfully this process didn't deteriorate into a shambolic X-Factor type affair and from the thousands of youngsters that managed to roll out of bed and get to the event on time, three Aled Jones wannabes were chosen, those being Ben, Patrick and CJ. The trio's debut album managed to sell 500,000 copies and hit the number one spot in the classical charts.

As with most things though it didn't last and eighteen months in the vocal life of certain choir boys came in to question. With raging hormones the vocal capacity of a pubescent teen can prove critical hence the new line up that presents itself here with the release of this season's new album entitled 'The Carols Album'. Ben, Patrick and CJ have been replaced with Bill, Andrew and William and the stuffy image of old is replaced with a new, upbeat alter ego which thankfully doesn't distract or impose upon a faultless performance. The album opens with the classic 'O Holy Night', quite literally making Charlotte Church, the voice of an angel, look like the wayward, under achieving half cousin to this angelic trio. Traditional favourites 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem', 'Silent Night' and 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' see accompaniment from the mammoth talents of the English Chamber Singers & Players, finding themselves interspersed with the more relaxed and classic school carol concert favourites like 'Ding Dong! Merrily On High' and 'Away In a Manger'.

With perfect vocals, a strong supporting folio, which also incidentally includes the All Angels quartet, there are few other albums around at this time of year that come close to matching the quality on offer.