Pentatonix, PTX Vol. IV – Classics | Album Review
Pentatonix strikes gold once more on PTX Vol. IV – Classics. The seven-song EP covers classics including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Imagine,” and “Jolene.”
Pentatonix can do no wrong. Okay, they can, but it’s highly unlikely, and we’ve yet to see them fall short. The a cappella quintet, comprised of Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kristin Maldonado, and Kevin “K.O.” Olusola, collectively showcase the utmost level of musicianship. On their latest project, EP PTX Vol. IV – Classics, Pentatonix continues to show why it’s a formidable musical group. They hit it big with covers of Queen, John Lennon, and Dolly Parton classics.
Beloved Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” ambitiously opens PTX Vol. IV – Classics. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is both a likely and unlikely cover for Pentatonix. It’s unlikely because of the dramatic, robust production of the original. Can an a cappella group pull off one of the more difficult rock classics? What makes “Bohemian Rhapsody” a likely choice because of the creative possibilities for both singing voices and the vocal accompaniment, not to mention the incredible musicianship of Pentatonix. The result is a spirited, fresh take on the Freddie Mercury penned gem.
“Imagine” is a less ambitious choice, but Pentatonix doesn’t treat it less ambitiously by any means. While the immortal John Lennon classic features many predictable cues, the group doesn’t limit themselves to the predictable. Particularly at the conclusion, the vocal harmonies clearly transcend the original, showcasing PTX’s willingness to experiment and “put their stamp on” the classic.
“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” separates itself from the rest of PTX Vol. IV – Classics. Although it’s brief at just over two minutes, the jazzy Andrews Sisters gem is infectious from the jump. Pentatonix arguably showcases the most personality of the project. The percussive component – the one-two punch of Avi Kaplan and Kevin “K.O.” Olusola – plays a gargantuan role in the success of the record.
“Over the Rainbow” slackens the pace of the album. A beautiful classic that has the propensity to be utterly predictable, Pentatonix does a fantastic job of creating lovely, clever harmonies. The best moment is the climax, followed by a spirited, expanded coda. Kristin Maldonado shines like a beacon on the high notes – simply beautiful.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love”
After the stunning balladry of “Over the Rainbow,” Pentatonix switch gears on 80s classic “Take on Me” (a-ha). Like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Take on Me” is incredibly fun and infectious. Once more, Elvis classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love” slows the pace, giving PTX another opportunity to flaunt their vocal chemistry and collective gorgeous tone. As exceptional as covers of “Imagine” and “Over the Rainbow” are, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” might be the best ballad performance of them all. The key word is might – they’re all excellent.
“Jolene” concludes PTX Vol. IV – Classics superbly. The classic gets a very special guest appearance – Dolly Parton. Parton not only made “Jolene” a classic, but she also wrote the song. Naturally, Pentatonix allows Parton to handle the lead (more often than not), serving as her backup singers and accompaniment. The result is a well-deserved Grammy-winning gem.
What more is there to say? Pentatonix delivers once more on PTX Vol. IV – Classics. Over the course of seven songs, the vocal collective never misses the mark. The only rub about PTX Vol. IV – Classics? It’s only comprised of seven songs!
Gems: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” & “Jolene”