Blessed with Brideshead Revisited good looks and an impressive, supple tenor, it was inevitable that Ansell would follow G4 with a bid for solo stardom. With Josh Groban, Russell Watson and Patrizio Buanne currently riding the "popera" pinup train towards six-digit sales figures, and the Welsh warbler himself, Rhydian Roberts, snapping at Ansell's brogue-clad heels, the road ahead of him is crowded. Ansell's ploy to distinguish himself from the classi-pop masses? An album of classic movie themes, all sung in his operatic, slightly sombre style. It's a good idea, but a borrowed one: Lesley Garrett was doing this kind of thing twelve years ago with her Soprano In Hollywood album.
Lack of originality notwithstanding, Tenor At The Movies does what it sets out to do very well. The music here – from films as diverse as Gone With The Wind and Gladiator, Moonstruck and Manon Des Sources - is tastefully-arranged and beautifully-orchestrated, with Ansell bringing all the gravitas you'd expect from a classically-trained tenor. If anything, the tone can be a little too refined: a touch more bombast along the lines of 'Here's To The Heroes', the Dances With Wolves theme that serves as the album's opening track, would be a welcome addition.
The general air of taste and dignity is interrupted on just two occasions. Ansell's interpretation of the theme from Chariots of Fire, on which he bellows rather preposterous lyrics about "the freedom of running, the freedom to fly", is comical rather than classy, while his version of 'Down In The River To Pray', a traditional bluegrass number made famous by O Brother, Where Art Thou?, is desperately ill-judged. His vocal technique is just too mannered to sing Southern fried lyrics about "sinners" and "studying in that good ol' way".
Perhaps the album's most telling moment comes half-way through, when Ansell tackles 'Vois Sur Ton Chemin', a song from little-known French film Les Choristes, with help from classical girl-group All Angels. Soothing, reassuring and ever so slightly spiritual, the result is just begging to soundtrack an advert for a transatlantic airline's new, improved business class service. For this minor triumph alone, Tenor At The Movies should be considered a job well done.