Album review | Orchestral pop

Josh Groban, ‘All That Echoes’

The pairing of Josh Groban with Rob Cavallo, the producer behind the burnished roar of Green Day and My Chemical Romance, is an idea that seems simultaneously too perverse to work and too intriguing to pass up. Alas, “All That Echoes” neutralizes Cavallo to the point where it’s hard to see why he got the job in the first place. The album continues in the vein of longtime Groban producer David Foster’s Olympic-ceremony pop: panoramic in scope, the better for Groban’s clear, tremulous tenor to stand on mountains and call out vague blandishments. But while Swell Season and Stevie Wonder covers, three (non-Cavallo) Romance language songs, and a woeful faux-calypso track end up waterlogged, he finds the right balance in “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” which provides the crisp distance of contemporary Broadway, and the moody “Hollow Talk,” with its nicely mournful strings prodding Groban without pushing too hard. Even so, “All That Echoes” drags Cavallo entirely in Groban’s direction, rather than meeting somewhere in the uncharted middle. (Out now) MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Hollow Talk”

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