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Electric Light Orchestra - Electric Light Orchestra II CD (album) cover

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA II

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.53 | 152 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Having mostly heard ELO in the pop form (Evil Woman, Sweet Talking Woman, etc), hearing ELO II was quite the shock--in a good way! I remember that my parents had a vinyl compilation (Ole ELO, I believe), and the two tracks that always stuck out to me were Roll Over Beethoven and Kuiama, which is further evidence to me that I was born to prog. At any rate, hearing these classics in their original context was very enjoyable, and ELO II still piques my interest today.

In Old England Town. To me, this tune is only related to classical music because of the instrumentation. The crunching cello often operates to plodding, Sabbath-like riffs. Still entertaining, but then Lynn's vocals enter the fray, and boy are they rough. This is a good song, but you can't go in expecting a poppy, well-produced ELO sound.

Mama. This is a dreamy tune that makes excellent use of the strings. When I listen to groups like Anekdoten, I hear them borrowing almost as much from this version of ELO as Wetton's Crimson. Certainly nothing virtuosic, but well-paced and relaxing.

Roll Over Beethoven. Without warning, ELO simultaneously kick up both the rock and the prog with this roundhouse kick to the face. A simplistic yet brilliant adaptation of Beethoven's foreboding classic gets interrupted by a familiar yet raw, attention-grabbing riff by Lynn (I didn't know he had it in him!). ELO keeps up the pace for the rest of the song, with frequent nods to the original tune, nice bits of honky-tonk/rock piano, and decent synth work. Inspired and original, without stepping on Chuck Berry's toes.

From the Sun to the World. Another nice adaptation of classical music, and this time they weren't kidding about the "boogie" in the title. Enjoyable movement between melodies, and the piano and strings sound more integrated (as opposed to the album opener).

Kuiama. One great slice of prog. If you don't like any of the preceding tunes, I'll bet you enjoy this. The general tune and vocals are good, but the best part is the build in the middle, as yawning cello escalates to a simple but effective solo from Lynne. This is one of the few ELO tunes that remind me more than a little of Yes. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Two excellent songs and no filler. Production and vocals are uneven, but not obtrusive. If you like classically tinged prog, but don't need virtuosic playing (or strong vocals) to go along with it, ELO II is right up your alley.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |

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