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

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA II

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.54 | 156 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

giselle
4 stars It was a long and cherished dream of Birmingham to have an electric string band. Denny Laine doesn't really get enough credit for his early String band, the forerunner of ELO. The problem Denny had was that amplification for strings live just didn't cut it, but it was interesting and innovative just the same.

Jeff's rise to fame contains puzzles too. He was always a good lead guitarist in Idle Race, he wrote songs that were, like most of Birmingham, enslaved in homage to Roy Wood, and pretty as some of the melodies were, they lacked focus and shape, and were often consumed by ascending/descending minors. Suddenly in ELO, the songs came into light, and made sense. The same chord sequences were there, but it was the difference between normal font and bold, and it came as a bit of a shock to those used to Jeff's previous work.

He was lucky too, having a great drummer like Bev Bevan to propel the beat, and in fact the whole group of musicians Jeff and Bev put together had a chemistry and life that couldn't be denied. Ironically, it was the departure of the great Roy Wood that seemed to be the catalyst. Freed of Roy's shadow, Roll Over Beethoven is a great track in anyone's book, a clever arrangement that leaps with joy and tongue in the cheek exuberance.

I note that Jeff considered Mr Blue Sky his best piece of work, and it really is a tour de force, that beautiful ending (apart from the jarring harmonica) bringing back memories of And in the End by the wonderful Beatles.

Adventurous ELO were not, but it was a welcome sunlit addition, bringing a clever aspect and an intelligent kind of popular music that wasn't clever enough to be prog but wasn't simple enough to be dismissed.

giselle | 4/5 |

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