The Silver Lake Chorus isn’t your normal collection of singers putting their spin on songs spanning a myriad of genres. This gathering of 20 Los Angelenos has some pretty famous fans and collaborators. After acclaimed Aussie singer/songwriter Ben Lee saw TSLC perform, he suggested they take a novel approach to traditional choral music by performing completely original indie rock songs.
Lee signed on to produce what became The Silver Lake Choris’ self-titled debut album and he asked his friends and fellow musicians to write new music for the record. As such, this 11-track release features compositions by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Tegan & Sara, The Bird & The Bee, The Flaming Lips, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Sia, Carl Newman (The New Pornographers) and Aimee Mann.
“Some songs called for a more traditional choral sound, and some for a more contemporary arrangements,” says soprano Heather Ogilvy. “The process of letting the songs be our guide and working with an array of vocalists and instrumentalists within the group was completely freeing. We weren’t trying to make each song sound the same, we were trying to fully serve each as best we could.”
TSLC are at the top of their game on keepers “From the Snow-Tipped Hills,” “Break It Down,” “Heavy Star Movin’,” “Nervouse Soul,” “Home Come Home” and “Wreckage.” It’s a fascinating sonic journey that plays out over 40 mostly enjoyable minutes. I realize that choral music isn’t for everyone, but this is an album that could make some converts. (Jeffrey Sisk)