A Break from the Classical
Il Divo star, Sébastien Izambard releases debut UK solo album
Review by Adrian Peel
Sébastien Izambard, one quarter of all-conquering classical crossover group Il Divo, is to put out his debut UK solo effort, We Came Here To Love, on February 2nd. It is the follow-up to the self-taught singer/guitarist/pianist’s first solo album, 2000’s Libre, which contained 11 pop songs sung entirely in French.
This new album also features 11 original tracks written or co-written by Sébastien and showcases his various influences, from The Weekend and Coldplay to James Blake and Adele, from upbeat pop and dance to the pop/classical hybrid he’s become known for since joining Il Divo in 2003. The group is one of the most popular crossover acts of all time, selling over 30 million records worldwide.
The French tenor’s voice truly soars on the anthemic title track which gets things under way. “Kingdom Come” has a modern groove to it and is pleasant enough, though ultimately largely forgettable. Better is “Up”, which as the title suggests, is an uplifting masterpiece that ought to be a worldwide hit, ideally played loudly beside swimming pools in hot countries during the summer months.
Mixed in among a few rather average ditties are some real gems – “Ashes”, “Cheer Me Up” and “Easy” are three notable examples, especially the latter.
There is much to admire about this record and it should appeal to both fans of Sébastien Izambard and of Il Divo, who have always displayed pop sensibilities in their otherwise mainly operatic music. It didn’t do a great deal for me, though, and on the whole I think I prefer Sébastien when he’s singing with his bandmates, Urs Bühler, Carlos Marín and David Miller. A valiant effort nevertheless.