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Electric Light Orchestra - ELO 2 [Aka: Electric Light Orchestra II ‎] CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.55 | 218 ratings

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5 stars ELO II saw the departure of Roy Wood (although he makes some small uncredited contributions), leaving Jeff Lynne in charge of the band. Additional personnel that came on board were keyboardist Richard Tandy, bassist Mike De Albuquerque, two cellists, and violinist Wilf Gibson. Lynne made a significant departure from the experimental No Answer where the foundation was chiefly classical music. ELO II's foundation is clearly rock music, with the classical instruments filling more atmospheric roles. In addition, Tandy adds lots of Moog synthesizer flourishes. This is a total and complete transition for the band. The main reason was probably record sales. In those pre-Internet, pre-computer days, you had to sell in order to make records. Another reason was most likely that it wasn't really Lynne's style. The future direction of ELO would clearly make this point.

Nonetheless, ELO II, even though completely different from their debut, still succeeded as a wonderful contribution to progressive rock during this time. Though not as complicated as Genesis, Yes, or Van der Graaf Generator, ELO carved out a special place in the progressive rock genre all their own (yet soon to be abandoned). Their music was more accessible, yet gave a large amount of room for the band to let loose. Lyrically, this period was the peak of Lynne's career (if he's reading this, I'm sure he's groaning), with some of the darkest words penned in ELO's long history. Lynne probably needed to work on that guitar a bit more as he is only marginally acceptable, but the skills of Tandy and the string trio make up for his mediocrity.

ELO II is one of the best ELO albums ever released, second to On the Third Day. Easily a masterpiece to my ears and well deserving of five stars. I highly recommend getting the remastered version as it sounds so much better than the old U.S. version. This review is based on the remastered version.

progaardvark | 5/5 |


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