CD of the Week

THE BEATLES Love Apple/EMI ****

Love Apple/EMI ****

Back in November 1995, the world woke up to a "brand new" Beatles song, Free As a Bird, and the first of the Anthology series of CDs. Eleven years later, producer George Martin and his son Giles have delved into the vaults once again and hauled out yet another different take on the music we love and know all too well. Love is the soundtrack for Cirque Du Soleil's new show (pictured), now running in Las Vegas, and is, effectively a compendium of Beatles songs, sounds and moments, joined together like a long, colourful kite's tail and flown aloft for our entertainment and - presumably - wonderment.

Martin père et fils have reworked, realigned and rearranged 26 Beatles songs, mashing some together, pulling others apart, and dropping in snatches of different songs where you least expect to hear them. Lady Madonna seems to start in the middle and work its way back around; Strawberry Fields Forever has a lengthy coda that includes fragments of For No One, Piggies and Hello Goodbye; and a demo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps has gained an orchestral arrangement courtesy of George Martin.

If anything is lost on this hallucinogenic trip through The Beatles' back catalogue, it's a sense of constancy: up till now, you could always rely on Beatles songs to sound exactly as you remembered them. Here, any minute along the ride the magic carpet could be pulled up from under you, such as when Tomorrow Never Knows and Within You Without You are fused together. But the rewards outweigh the perceived heresy: the opportunity to hear new things in an old back catalogue, and a chance to lose yourself again in the most amazing oeuvre in pop history.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist