It’s not the first time a band has worked with an orchestra to reimagine their material. Def Leppard, not a band to do things by halves, have done things properly, not just slapped a quartet on existing recordings as an excuse to put something out just short changes fans. This is different: They have intertwined the audio from the original tapes and performed them alongside The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The album includes new vocals and guitars alongside orchestral arrangements. At different points you can even hear Joe Elliott duetting with his younger self.
The band have jumped all over their back catalogue from ‘ High and Dry’ to Diamond Star Halos.’ ( omitting On Through The Night, X, Yeah! and Def Leppard ). And while there are some obvious choices here in terms of their hits, they are not always given predictable make overs.
An orchestrated version of ‘Switch 625’ has quite frankly never sounder better. ‘ Love Bites’ is given a glorious arrangement repeat with a dramatic violin lift on the chorus. ‘Animal’ stands out and is given a majestic, cinematic make over. Talking of cinematic, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ relinquishes its rock vibe, and embraces a slow, romantic tone. It’s almost unrecognisable and is now a duet with Emm Gryner. It would have been so easy to just add strings to the existing arrangement, but this is a total demolition and rebuilding project.; But it just works so well. Even Mutt Lang must be thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?” Ok so, some of the lyrics don’t work quite as well with the softer backing, but overall it really is top draw stuff.
So yes this is another band putting out a reworking of their material while they continue with other projects (they’ve just released a book and are going on tour) this is a welcome stop gap to keep their legacy fresh, until the next album comes along.