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Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record CD (album) cover

A NEW WORLD RECORD

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.27 | 185 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars The Electric Light Orchestra consistently demonstrates a challenging level of musical eclecticism, yet has fashioned their own unique sound. A New World Record exemplifies this well- an enjoyable mix of rock, classical, disco, R&B, and the popular vocal music of yesteryear.

"Tightrope" Following an eerie and misleading pseudo-classical introduction, the typical ELO rock sound breaks through, interspersed with strings and whiny guitar bends.

"Telephone Line" One of my first experiences with ELO was this pretty number. In many ways it hearkens back to the golden oldies, especially with the doo-wop business. This one is a true beauty- always a pleasure.

"Rockaria!" The first few times I heard this song, I didn't like it. However, it has entered the long list of ELO songs I couldn't do without. I love the contrasting styles, from foot-stomping barrelhouse boogie to a smoother style, and the climax- a rapid-fire enthusiastic verse- is the perfect ending. Even Mary Thomas's flub on the operatic vocals in the very beginning of the track adds to the experience.

"Mission (A World Record)" This is a more easygoing piece, full of vocal effects and string glissandi. It is a muddy semi-psychedelic song that launches into a fusion of classical and R&B.

"So Fine" A peppy light rock song that is also an obvious nod to disco, this tune is unassuming but fun- precisely what most ELO pop music is. The interruption in the middle featuring percussion and electronic sounds is unsatisfying.

"Livin' Thing" Yet another ELO gem, the listener is treated to melodic acoustic rock sprinkled with gypsy violin. Again, the harmonies and chord progressions are reminiscent of the oldies of American music.

"Above The Clouds" The band moves further back in musical chronology, producing a song that is more in the style of early 1920s or 1930s string-based popular music.

"Do Ya" The catchy, simple guitar riff here would have made a good opening tune. I love the slide guitar on the second verse- a very characteristic sound of ELO's but sparingly used. The bridge of this otherwise hard rocker is delicate and contains lovely, evocative lyrics. Layered vocals build into the chorus.

"Shangri-la" The final piece is an enchanting, sleepy song, with bittersweet lead guitar. In both structure and sound, I am reminded of the well-known Santo & Johnny instrumental, "Sleep Walk." As usual, ELO offers captivating vocal melodies, harmonies, and charming string arrangements.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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