Album: The Beatles <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Love, EMI
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

These days, as the success of the Queen and Abba musicals demonstrates, even dissolution is no barrier to a band's earning power. Indeed, the less chance there is of the real band in question being seen onstage again, the greater the demand for some ersatz experience feasting on memories.

No surprise, then, to find The Beatles being mined for further revenues. Love features many of their choicest moments re-assembled as the backing track for a Las Vegas spectacular by Cirque du Soleil. Lovingly slaved over for two years by Sir George Martin and his son Giles, it's a mash-up of remixes and re-combinations of Beatles tracks. Thus does Love open with an a cappella version of "Because", the harmonies accompanied only by a patina of birdsong, linked to the following "Get Back" by a reversed piano note one realises is the climactic chord from "A Day In the Life", backwards.

It's slightly pedestrian, but ultimate success is assured by the copper-bottomed nature of the original material: even if George and Giles don't have much to add to a track, there's usually enough going on in the first place to retain one's interest. And, to their credit, it's all been accomplished without recourse to thumping disco beats.

Some pieces suggest themselves, like the combination of "Within You Without You" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" glimpsed through a dope-smoke haze of droning sitar. Others are not so obvious, such as the medleyfied "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing". Sometimes, the changes are minimal, as with the addition of live crowd noise to "I Want To Hold Your Hand"; and in some cases, instead of adding to the original, they've removed elements, a disconcerting effect that reaches its most ironic extreme on an acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from which the climactic guitars of Harrison and Clapton have been utterly excised.

The major problems, however, concern the 5.1 surround-sound remixes, which suffer from gimmicky desperation. "Strawberry Fields Forever" is pulled apart most distractingly, with the lead vocal roaming inexplicably from front centre to right rear, while the backing vocals (front left) are rendered far too loud. This fragmentation is most damaging on "Come Together", where the original's chunky solidity is entirely sacrificed. Compensation comes from a most unusual source in "A Day In the Life", where the surround-sound mix settles once and for all the canard about Ringo's limitations by revealing just how subtly brilliant is his contribution to that most revered of Beatles moments.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows', 'A Day In the Life'

Comments