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Electric Light Orchestra - Face the Music CD (album) cover

FACE THE MUSIC

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.38 | 262 ratings

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progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer
3 stars ELO's Face the Music continues the bands trend towards making radio-friendly pop music, although there are still remnants of the band's earlier progressive roots in place. Jeff Lynne continues to use an orchestra to back the band (instead of just the two cellists and a violinist featured on ELO II and On the Third Day) and will continue to do so into the 1980's. Again it gives the band a more violin-based string sound, rather than the cello-based sound on their earlier efforts. The production has improved over their previous release, Eldorado.

The best song on Face the Music is the energetic instrumental Fire on High. Fire on High has a fascinating backmasked message in the beginning of the song which reads "The music is reversible, but time is not... Turn back! Turn back! Turn back!" If my memory serves me right, this was in response to an accusation of a Satanic message in reverse on their Eldorado album (which is hogwash by the way). In mocking fashion, they also had choral singers singing "Hallelujah" in the beginning. They would later name their 1983 album Secret Messages after this controversy. Anyhow, this is indeed an eerie beginning to a one of the best songs ELO ever made in their post-prog era.

Unfortunately, the rest of Face the Music is rather bland, containing the danceable pop hit Evil Woman, a nice rocker in Poker (with a rare Richard Tandy keyboard solo), the dreary, hit-me-with-a-pillowcase Strange Magic, and the country-tinged Down Home Town. Nightrider is a half-way decent song and I've always admire the final track One Summer Dream with it's dreamy sounding acoustic guitar. This is the last album by ELO to show some progressive moments. Good enough for three stars, but not essential at all.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |

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