Yesterday Once More with new Carpenters album

Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra debuted at No. 52 on the American Billboard chart in December 2018.
Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra debuted at No. 52 on the American Billboard chart in December 2018. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE/CARPENTERSVEVO

NEW YORK - If you have a Carpenters' greatest hits album, listen to one track, Yesterday Once More. Can you hear an aircon murmur at the start?

Few fans know that but Richard Carpenter, 72, one half of the famous pop duo, has now corrected that sonic irritation - at least to his discerning ears.

The brother of Karen, whose poignant voice anchored a batch of Carpenters hits from We've Only Just Begun (1970) to Rainy Days And Mondays (1971), has twiddled with the song arrangements after he was invited by Universal to do a new album of the classics.

That allowed him to erase some imperfections that came from pressure to release music under a tight deadline at the height of their fame, and also give the songs a fuller sound from working with an orchestra.

The new release - Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - debuted at No. 52 on the American Billboard chart in December 2018 and came in at No. 8 in Britain. A vinyl release is on the cards in February.

But Richard, who conducted the 80-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London, was disciplined enough not to go overboard with changes.

The voice of Karen - who died of complications from anorexia in 1983 at 32 - was more than enough, he knew, for fans to feel on Top Of The World with the new album.