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Electric Light Orchestra - The Harvest Years 1970-1973 CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

4.13 | 6 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars The first two discs of this 3CD box contain simply the "Electric Light Orchestra" and "ELO 2" albums, enhanced by selections off the latest re-issues. Some of the bonuses are real gems in their own little way, especially the endearing stripped-down version of Whisper in the Night. What is more significant, the remastering has done miracles as far as the debut album is concerned. The layers of cellos are heard on several planes now, and there is some real depth stuck to this still rough and powerful sound. No remastering could redeem the horrible Battle of Marston Moor, though, of course.

The third disc is the most interesting for fans, as it features - alongside a couple of single/ instrumental versions of the key tracks from the first two - the entire "Electric Light Orchestra" album in an alternate (quad) mix. Now, the tendency is that the all-too- important cellos are more compressed and less prominent, while the traditional instruments (notably Wood's bass) are higher in the mix, making it all more accessible and conventional, but also less adventurous and groundbreaking. Seemingly it should have brought the matters closer to the I am the Walrus/ Strawberry Fields ideal, but the remixed songs sound now as lame post-psychedelic throwaways. Occasionally the new mixes almost amount to new versions (Mr Radio's symphonic backward coda features a completely different orchestral part, there are more violins in the sustained ending of Queen of the Hours, some cello licks in Whisper in the Night's instrumental break, and so on), but none of the songs sounds radically different in the end. While First Movement seems to benefit from the more poppish production, being exposed here as a potential Move single, Look At Me Now suffers from the nylon-strings guitar part, occasionally out of synch with the cellos and generally blurring and slowing things down. The only consistent improvement throughout is the production of the vocals, pushed slightly to the fore, logically enough.

For the first ELO line-up fans this box might be a thing worth searching for, especially if they only possess the "best of early years" compilation disturbing the running order, and the flow, of the classic LP's. For newcomers, a pleasant treat.

gero | 4/5 |


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