Critics Applaud ‘Revelatory, Astonishing’ Deluxe Editions Of The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’
Reviewers also praise the new mixes as ‘richer, warmer, full of bite.’
The expanded editions of The Beatles’ landmark 1966 album Revolver, out today (28), have been hailed as “revelatory and astonishing,” “richer, warmer, full of bite,” and “experimental genius in real time.”
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In a slew of rave reviews, critics are in awe of the revolutionary remixing process for the stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes in the special editions by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell. It had been assumed that the duo would not be able to give the album the same treatment they had given The Beatles’ later albums in their 50th anniversary configurations, since Revolver was recorded on four-track tape, with guitar, bass and drums on the same track.
This was before the emergence of cutting edge “de-mixing” technology developed by the award-winning sound team led by Emile de la Rey at Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films Productions. Their process enabled the separation of the recordings so that they could be remixed in stereo.
Revolver had been recorded on four-track, so the guitar, bass and drums all shared the same track. “No one, not even Martin, knows how they did it,” writes Ian Fortnam in Classic Rock. “But they did. And the results are both revelatory and astonishing.
“Safe to say,” he goes on, “the album’s 14 tracks are confirmed to be nothing less than brilliant (it wasn’t consistently voted the best album of all time back in the 90s for nothing), with Martin’s beautifully burnished, respectful restorations of ‘For No One,’ ‘Here There And Everywhere’ and the enduringly magnificent ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ packing particular emotional punch.”
In a Daily Mail review that calls the new editions a “Revolverlution,” Adrian Thrills writes: “The sound is richer, warmer and full of bite. The songs, crucially, remain the same, with none of the existing arrangements tampered with in the slightest…Revolver is ultimately all about the songs, which have stood the test of time. It’s no wonder the album had such a lasting influence: hearing The Beatles brought back to life in such a vibrant manner is one of the musical joys of the autumn.”
In a five-star review for The Guardian headlined “experimental genius in real time,” Annie Zaleski enthuses: “The younger Martin wisely doesn’t calibrate the records for 21st-century ears by adding modern polish and trickery. Instead, his approach involves amplifying the existing nuances of the music from a contemporary perspective, meaning even familiar songs sound fresher.
“While Revolver doesn’t necessarily have the kaleidoscopic depths of the 2017 remix of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, that’s no slight. Instead, Revolver’s new details tease out deeper meanings in the songs. Now more prominent, the low-lit backing harmonies on ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ remake the tune as an old-fashioned rock’n’roll love song; the piano bending out of key on ‘I Want to Tell You’ mirrors the narrator’s insecurity; and McCartney’s booming walking bass on ‘Taxman’ illuminates the biting, cynical tone of Harrison’s lyrics.”
Spill magazine’s Aaron Badgley adds that Martin “gives the album a much sharper sound. The vocals are more prominent and not lost in the mix. ‘Dr. Robert’ has incredible energy that comes through with the new mix. ‘She Said She Said’ benefits from the new mix as well, making the song a bit more laid back but maintaining the wonderful vocals.
“Martin basically takes everything his dad did and highlights certain aspects of each song. Songs like ‘For No One,’ which features a French horn, benefits with the shiny new mix by bringing the vocals more forward while maintaining the beautiful arrangement of the song.”