Revolver [Super Deluxe]
I won’t be the first reviewer to posit that everything Beatles-related in the wake of Peter Jackson’s recent Get Back spectacular will now either possess or need to possess that documentary’s heft, inclusion, and curation. Not that the remaining overseeing Beatles, their label, and reissue producer Giles Martin (son of the fifth Beatle, George Martin) haven’t been doing that already with recent annual deep dives into efforts such as the White Album, Abbey Road, and Sgt. Pepper’s boxsets preceding the new look-and-listen into the psychedelic rejoinder Revolver. Still, Get Back set the highest-ever bar, and this lavish four-LP/one-7-inch (stereo and mono audio) heavy vinyl kit, all half-speed mastered and packaged with a 100-page hardbound book, must go that extra mile.
And the super Revolver does indeed do that. Capturing the mesmeric vibe and stretched compositional prowess of The Beatles and George Martin circa 1966, everything on Revolver is an evolutionary process from what came immediately prior (or what was happening pop-culturally in the moment) to its recording. With that we get an early take on the hauntingly prismatic “And Your Bird Can Sing,” done up in Roger McGuinn–like Rickenbacker jangle, a dramatically fast and furious instrumental version of “Rain” that pours punkishly rather than drizzles, a slooow-motion “Tomorrow Never Knows” theatrically presented in psilocybin-esque Technicolor, and a far-less childish and more sad-eyed “Yellow Submarine” than the official release Ringo happily chattered upon.
There are also, of course, rougher takes on familiar poppy fare, like the richly harmonic pairing of Lennon and Harrison on the less-rocking early version of “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the evolved instrumentation, from spare to sleek, of “I’m Only Sleeping.”
Needless to say, the younger Martin’s 2022 mono mix transfer of his dad’s original tape kicks. The bass on the spry, cutting “Taxman” flutters and wows. The chamber strings of “Eleanor Rigby” saw more grayly and icily through the ballad’s sad spine. The back-to-back drag of “For No One” and “Doctor Robert” encourages you to do just one more tab of acid before you truly mature, and the bonus EP’s buoyant “Paperback Writer” and its descending harmony vocals make you remember—in under four minutes—everything that made you fall in love with The Beatles in the first place. This time, only louder and brighter.