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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 | 151 ratings

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JeffELOLynne
3 stars Certainly one step ahead from their original, but amateurish and pretty awful sounding debut (even Bev Bevan had difficulties keeping his timing right!), ELO2 is still an uneven record.

Let's begin with the flaws: "In Old England Town" fits very well with the worst of their first record, it's really painful for the ears. Lynne's singing is really not ok on this track. He is one of my favourite singers, being very versatile and warm, but here he is forcing his voice to do things he was unable to do at that time. The strings are also out of key and the composition isn't very interesting(although with better recording and playing/singing it could actually be a decent prog anthem). "From the Sun to the World" has got some interesting ideas(mainly the classical inspired intro), and the sound quality is much better, but the rock n' roll parts are very uninteresting and the song is -also one of ELO's characteristics(see the two instrumentals on their next record)- very repetitive which narrows the replayability of the track a lot. With some better decisions this could have been a less boring tune.

So Boogie no#1 and 2(as these songs are called alternatively) bring the level of the album down severily. But the other songs( all clocking over 7 minutes) are all highlights of the band... The reason why a lot of youngsters bought this record back in 1973 was ofcourse the incredible rendition of Chuck Berry's "Roll over Beethoven". And they are absolutely right. What a thrilling ride Lynne makes of a harmless rock n' roll song, with what an energetic punk attitude they play the song and with what great biting prog hooks they stuff this candy-bag full. Probably the definitive highlight of ELO's early career. "Momma" is equally impressive as a ballad, although one can question the length of the track. Lyrics are very warm on this little gem, and Tandy's keys blend very well with the string section. I can see this being used at a funeral, making loads of people cry. And, last but not least, "Kuiama": the only truly successful epic prog song ELO has made(so if you wanna convince someone ELO was definitively prog, put on this song!). All ideas on this track are strong and the arrangement is incredibly tasteful for such a young band. They really sound must more adult on this one then on the "boogie" tracks and the anti-war lyrics actually work really well. Those three songs are must haves for anyone interested in both artrock or ELO, and make the record really worthwhile.

*****: "Kuiama", "Momma", "Roll over Beethoven"

**:"From the Sun to the World"

*:"In Old England Town"

JeffELOLynne | 3/5 |

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