You’ve probably seen or heard of 2Cellos by now. They appeared on Glee, released a couple of albums, toured with Elton John, and have garnered millions of hits on their YouTube videos. In their newest album, Celloverse, members Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic run the musical gamut, covering AC/DC, Avicii, and even a couple of songs from Inception. The classically trained duo bring their own twist to the songs they cover, whether it’s a hard rock track with a baroque intro or using their own cellos as percussive instruments.
Celloverse starts off like anybody would expect; Hauser and Sulic play the “William Tell Overture,” complementing each other as they play call-and-response with the well-known melody. They effortlessly transition into Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” making it seem as if the songs were meant to be played together from the get-go. A recurring feature from 2Cellos is the ability to create an electric guitar sound on electric cellos, giving them the ability to perfectly mirror Maiden’s soaring and screeching solos. Much like any classical piece, a loud, fast opening piece is juxtaposed by a softer, more melodic ballad, and there’s no better pop song to fill that space than “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons.
“Live And Let Die” sees a guest appearance by Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and has a playful, almost dance nature to the verses, as if the three of them were sitting in the studio together, using their instruments to joke around the way other musicians do verbally. Following the happy-go-lucky sound of “Live And Let Die” is “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” originally by Radiohead. Already an extremely somber piece, the string instrumentation of this arrangement adds to the darkness of it, however, unlike the original, there’s an undertone of optimism and hope, maybe due to the sped up tempo and layering of tracks.
The album ends with the title-track, “Celloverse,” an original song written by Hauser and Sulic, and combines themes previously explored in the album, from the arpeggiated solos of Iron Maiden and AC/DC to the club beats of Avicii to the atmospheric build-ups of Hans Zimmer. 2Cellos might seem like a novelty act to some, but they’ve showed their worth as musicians, songwriters, and performers, and are truly here to stay.