Richard & Adam Johnson - The Impossible Dream (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
AND so the Britain’s Got Talent bandwagon rolls on. Whether winner, runner-up or third placed act/person, you still have a shot at making your fame and fortune it would seem.
The latest act to miss out on the top prize yet still release an album are Welsh singing operatic brothers Richard and Adam Johnson, who came third on this year’s show. They release an album aptly named The Impossible Dream, which is full of cover versions of classic pop, opera and stage anthems.
And immediately it smacks of playing to the masses and, perhaps even worse, playing it safe.
The Johnsons would seem to have a good set of vocals, with tenor Richard 22 bouncing off baritone Adam 19, extremely well. And their success is amazing given the devotion to their craft they’ve shown, from teaching themselves how to sing via Pavarotti lessons on YouTube to singing at Birkenhead Operatic and winning a talent competition.
But the songs on this debut album lack something. And perhaps it isn’t all their fault. Some of the orchestration lacks the passion we’ve come to expect, while some of the songs feel ill-suited to this particular classical take.
Their cover of Abba’s The Winner Takes It All is one such example (feeling stifled and lifeless), while even Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power of Love lacks the same emotional sweep as the original… and that’s despite being delivered in classical form.
The brothers’ version of classic Les Miserables standard Bring Him Home pales by comparison to the best singer’s versions of it (Alfie Boe, especially) despite a rousing finale to it and Somewhere feels over-earnest and work-manlike as opposed to lovelorn and impassioned.
There are moments that suggest the public’s adoration of this duo isn’t misplaced (a version of Lucio Dalla’s Caruso sung in Italian being one example). But it would be interesting to hear them set their voices to original material, or perhaps even lesser known works, so that they can really bring a sense of their own identity to the table, devoid of the pre-conceived baggage that comes with the majority of the songs chosen here.
Download pick: Caruso