2011 in Review #6: Scala & Kolacny Brothers

'Cover' is sometimes a dirty word in the music business, in any of its incarnations (re-imagining, re-working etc.), and if you're in any doubt as to why, reacquaint yourself with this monstrosity of recent months:

But at least that was in aid of a good cause, so you had cause to buy it even if you'd never listen to it again. Some don't even have the good nature to be in aid of something. This was just hideous bandwagon jumping at its most ear-bleedingly pointless.

So when Scala & Kolacny Brothers' debut album dropped in May, we were equally excited and apprehensive. Excited because their exquisite cover of Radiohead's 'Creep' first came to our attention on The Social Network's trailer - and if you haven't seen it, do it now - and apprehensive because could they really repeat the trick over a full length outing?

We should never have doubted.

Their eponymous UK debut tackled some rock classics ('Everlong', 'Nothing Else Matters') and some not-so-classic ('Ironic', 'Use Somebody'), but whatever it approached, it did so in glorious, elegiac and awe-inspiring style. The Belgian all-girl choir, conducted by Stijn Kolacny with brother Steven playing the piano, even managed to make their three original compositions sound like classics already.

A phenomenal UK debut show in the fittingly grand surroundings of London's Union Chapel followed in June and cemented our admiration for them; an admiration that even a collaboration with Britain's Got Talent's winner Jai McDowall is unlikely to break, when they team up with him for a cover of U2's 'With Or Without You', which they had already tackled on their debut album without Jai. Wonder what version we'll prefer...

Scala & Kolacny Brothers' debut album is re-released on December 12th with two extra tracks of Coldplay covers - 'Yellow' and 'Viva La Vida'

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