Let me put this in context - I'm a die-hard Groban fan, who is proud to own (and love) all of his previous stuff, so the first time I listened to Illuminations I was expecting it to be pretty darn good, and I wasn't disappointed.
Josh is definately taking a bit of a different direction on this one (including the opening instrumental prelude) that I can understand may throw some people who know his earlier songs, but I could easily name several of the tracks from this album (including the fantastic Voce Existe Em Mim (my personal favourite), the beautiful Galileo and the lyrically stunning War At Home) that are as good as anything he's ever done.
Illuminations also allows Groban to show his versatility away from the microphone. He has a writers credit on 11 of the 13 tracks, and dusts off his piano to play on several of them.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a perfect record, there are some rough edges, even with Groban's usually impeccable vocals. When you take into account, however, the one-take approach taken to recording, this isn't really that surprising. If anything it's a very brave thing to do - something many artists would have trouble pulling off.
This is one CD that has barely left the player since it arrived, and I reckon it's going to be there for a while to come!!!