Friday, January 6, 2012

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Revisited

To welcome our new comic, Troy Hall, we would like to motorboat him after posting this delicious review of a new love to his life, The Beatles....
Welcome him to your computer screens! (He has some truly awesome art that will be blessing our blog!!)

Sgt. Pepper's revisited

I recently purchased the new issue of Guitar World magazine, excited by the cover story which promised in depth recording information on some of the Beatles biggest recordings. While reading through the issue I came across an interview with one Andy Timmons, formerly of the band Danger Danger. While not a fan of the aforementioned former band, I was intrigued by what the interview promised. Insight into the new Andy Timmons Band project, an instrumental redux of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Could a power trio really pull off such a feat? The interview intrigued me to the point I purchased the album on iTunes and gave it a listen.
I should preface this review with a quick explanation of facts. I haven't always been the biggest Beatles fan. In fact, for more years than I care to admit I wrote them off as one of the most overrated bands of all time. In recent years I have come to see the error of my thinking and the Beatles have since become one of my favorite bands of all time. That said, I always loved the Sgt. Pepper's album. It was, in my earlier opinion of the band, their one good album. I have since seen the error of my ways, but still hold that particular record in very high regard.
The very first thing you need to know about this album is that they stick to the essence of the power trio without fail. Rather than resort to samples, or other instruments they get creative and recreate the odds and ends of the album as best they can within the confines of a guitar, bass, and drums. The nice thing is how impressively they do it. Whether its the recreated sitar via guitar on 'Within You Without You', or the animal sounds at the end of 'Good Morning, Good Morning', they seem to capture the sounds as close as possible.
It is also very interesting how the guitar is used on this record in the place of vocals. Anyone familiar with the original will definitely know where the words are meant to go on this record. The guitar sings them.  Some things that stood out to me on the first listen.  'She's Leaving Home', which in his interview Andy Timmons describes as "The only Beatles song to make me cry", is as haunting and heavy as the original.

It's easy to see that he was very driven on this particular song.  'When I'm Sixty Four', which was always a favorite of mine, is simply amazing. The use of acoustics gives it an almost country vibe, while still maintaining the fun integrity of the original.

The bottom line on this album is that they obviously did this as a labor of love, and they did it very well. I know I gave some opinions on some of my favorites, and I'd love to give some counterpoints, but the fact is that this is a very good band doing a very good rendition of the original record. There was not a single moment on this album when I thought they were doing a disservice to the original. If anything they were proving how relevant it still is after thirty-four years. I recommend this to anyone who can appreciate an honest homage.
The album, 'Andy Timmons Band Does Sgt. Pepper' is available on iTunes and through other outlets. I think it's worth your dime.

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