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QUEEN: The Miracle (EMI Deluxe Collector’s Edition)  Rating: **** Verdict: Still a kind of magic   DERMOT KENNEDY: Sonder (Island)  ...

QUEEN: The Miracle (EMI Deluxe Collector’s Edition) 

Rating: ****

Verdict: Still a kind of magic

 

DERMOT KENNEDY: Sonder (Island)  

Rating: ***

Verdict: Passionate Celtic soul

Freddie Mercury said Queen did things ‘bigger and better’, and the band he fronted lived up to that billing.

Their artistic range was dazzling and the success they enjoyed was enormous — which goes some way to explaining why there’s still so much interest in them more than three decades after his death.

This year, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor brought their spectacular Rhapsody tour to UK arenas — and the Platinum Party At The Palace — with American vocalist Adam Lambert stepping into the shoes of Mercury.

Prior anal porn to that, there was a jukebox musical (We Will Rock You) and Oscar-winning biopic (Bohemian Rhapsody).

Now comes an expanded repackaging of The Miracle, the group’s penultimate album in Mercury’s lifetime, and a record that saw them return to the grandiose, hard-rocking style they pioneered in the 1970s while reiterating their importance to 1980s pop.

Freddie Mercury said Queen did things ‘bigger and better’, and the band he fronted lived up to that billing

It’s a reissue bolstered by five unreleased songs plus another, the ballad Face It Alone, that emerged for the first time only last month.

The original 1989 album arrived at a watershed moment.Mercury, who died from Aids-related pneumonia in 1991, had yet to go public with his diagnosis, but his bandmates were aware of it and rallied round. With Freddie no longer able to tour, Queen would be a studio-based act from that point onwards.

According to May, the Miracle sessions were harmonious — not always a given with a combustible outfit in which all four members were competitive songwriters.In this case, the songs were built up in the studio, with writing credits shared. ‘We left our egos at the door,’ says May.

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