Epic instrumental versions of Floyd, Yes, Tull et al.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Here’s a crazy idea: take the biggest, most symphonic prog monoliths and make them even bigger and more symphonic. An epic, hubristic task, bound to end in calamity, yes?

Far from it. This is immense and brilliant. The Royal Phil give us fully-orchestrated renditions of such landmarks as Comfortably Numb and Thick As A Brick, and imbue these old stalwarts with new zest. It’s like pictures at an exhibition coming to life; masterpieces bursting into 3D. Recorded at Abbey Road with a host of guests, these versions are both respectful and revivifying. Ian Bairnson reboots the solo on the Floyd classic, while Richard Harvey (ex-Gryphon) colours Tull’s calling-card. Patrick Moraz adorns Gentle Giant’s Think Of Me With Kindness, Gavin Harrison and Guthrie Govan prove they know their way around 21st Century Schizoid Man, Three Dog Night’s recently deceased keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon spins Yes’ Roundabout, Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith revs up Rush’s Red Barchetta and Thijs Van Leer revisits Focus II. Yet this is driven not by cameos but by its overall sweep and scale. From Watcher Of The Skies to Nights In White Satin, it’s exhilarating from conception to execution. A regal restorative.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.