For those unfamiliar with The Choir, they are a rock band which has been together for approximately 30 years. Over the last several years they have been actively recording and performing their music. In between two album releases of new material, they put out a CD called De-plumed in 2011 (Yes, I’m a bit behind). It is a collection of nearly a dozen of their previously released songs “unplugged”. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything too exciting. Typically when bands put out these type of albums, they seem to be novelties that they know their die-hard fans will purchase regardless of the quality. However this is anything but the case with De-plumed. The album demonstrates the quality of both the songs and the musicianship of The Choir. The songs sound every bit as strong with these significantly different arrangements as do the original recordings. And the band doesn’t just play the same parts with an acoustic guitar instead of an electric. They certainly put some thought into how they could make these arrangements stand out with different instrumentation. The notes of chords are often played successively rather than being strummed for one example. And in many places other instruments such as strings and percussion have been added which greatly enhance the arrangements.
While De-plumed may not contain new songs, it does contain new material and stands as a strong release in its own right. This CD is certainly not a novelty for fans. I believe it can be enjoyed quite on its own even for those not previously acquainted with the songs. Beautiful is the word I’d use to describe De-plumed. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that these accomplished musicians didn’t disappoint, but they have exceed my initial expectations.