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The Beatles Revolver (Super Deluxe)

By Mike McGonigal |

Drop everything: it's here! For once, a reissue-plus-rarities set that's worth all the time you have.

Revolver the Beatles' seventh studio album, first released on August the 5th 1966, is quite often thrown around as possibly 'the greatest single album of the rock era', but we will let you decide that. Revolver paired psychedelic innovation with ear-worm melodies which have remained worldwide favourites for the last 50-odd years, and this Super Deluxe release is in no way trying to supplant the original.

This expanded reissue of Revolver gives us an insight into the most successful band in the world at the top of their game. The group were in love with every possibility (each song is a different template for sonic possibilities, from blue-eyed soul to avant-garde pop to beautiful melancholic dream music), but more importantly, the group were still in love with being a band. Their unabashed, youthful enthusiasm for using the studio as an instrument is on full display in all of the outtakes. This is an important perspective for fans to take away as it was after Revolver that the band stopped touring.

© Brendan Joyce / Universal Music

You likely know the original inside and out, so be prepared. The new mixes by Giles Martin and Sam Okell are truly high fidelity. As you might have read, Martin (son to George) and Okell employ a "de-mixing" technology recently developed by Emile de la Rey and others for the Peter Jackson Get Back documentary project. New details emerge, and the voice separation is spectacular. We're not saying that it's like you are hearing it for the first time, but you will discern new elements in a way that enhances the entire experience.

If you haven't listened to Revolver in a while, some qualms you may have had with the original still remain. For example, why does the band begin their first sonically progressive album with a song such as lurching and 'average' as "Taxman?" Aside from that song being merely good and not mind-blowing, the only quibble with this Super Deluxe release is that the track listing presents different outtakes and demos of the same track end to end. One does see the songs flower and fracture by doing this, but after the first listen, it might be repetitive. This ahead-of-its-time full-length is so close to perfect.

Beatlemaniacs and budding fans alike must consider this release as the new reference, the new source. As the band infamously sing on "Tomorrow Never Knows" (which has the most revelatory demos of all on this set), invoking both Eastern thought and contemporary enthusiasts of the psychedelic revolution, "Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void; it is shining, it is shining."


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