Pentatonix • PTX, Vol. III • RCA • US Release Date: September 23, 2014
Sometimes, the unlikeliest artist or musicians gain some serious traction – or should I say, attraction from the people? A cappella outfit Pentatonix seemed to come out of nowhere. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true as the group did appear on NBC’s Sing Off, but as everyone knows, only one show has delivered superstars – American Idol. Nonetheless, slowly but surely, Pentatonix have found themselves among the chart elite – the Billboard 200 Chart’s top ten. Go figure!
After releasing three previous EPs, Pentatonix releases a fourth, PTX, Vol. III. Could this be the big one? Quite possibly, given the singles for the effort. If nothing else, covering Ariana Grande and Sam Smith has to count for something.
“Problem” opens PTX, Vol. III alluringly, captivating the listener’s attention with a big-time hit interpreted sensationally in the a cappella style. The vocal harmonies pop, and add an additional layer of depth to this contemporary jam. Sure, it would take a force of nature to eclipse Ariana Grande’s original, but Pentatonix do a fine job by all accounts.
“La La Latch” fuses two tracks, both of which that originally featured Sam Smith – “Latch” (Disclosure) and “La La La” (Naughty Boy). A captivating mash up, “La La Latch” matches the excellence of “Problem.” After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy Sam Smith all in one?
Besides the main attractions “Problem” and “La La Latch,” PTX, Vol. III has some other stellar moments. These include “Rather Be,” which soars highest on the irresistibly, vocally harmonized chorus: “No-no-no-no-no, no place I’d rather be.” Latin record “Papaoutai” (Stromae) which features standout violinist Lindsey Stirling, showcases incredible musicianship, not to mention an ambitious and energetic performance.
Ultimately, Pentatonix represents itself well on this fourth showing. Sure, they don’t reinvent the wheel, but a cappella groups with commercial potential are few and far between these days. PTX, Vol. III is definitely worth the listen.
Favorites: “Problem,” “La La Latch,” “Papaoutai”