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Electric Light Orchestra - On The Third Day CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.78 | 225 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars And on the third day, Jeff Lynne found a concept

With "On the third day", ELO began their migration from the muddled symphonic prog of their second album towards world conquering symphonic pop. The album consists of two sides of segued songs loosely linked by concept. That concept is based around the birth or creation of the world and its people, hence the title which also reflects the ordinal number of this release.

The album opens with a rather ham-fisted overture "Ocean break-up", which moves into the rather lifeless "King of the universe". Despite the orchestration and slight phasing, the song has a flat feeling. "Bluebird is dead" with its obvious Beatles, and especially McCartney, references is something of a plodder too. Is this really the band who recorded such an over the top version of "Roll over Beethoven"? After a brief frantic link section, things take an even more understated turn with "Oh no not Susan". Only when we get to "New world rising" and the reprise of "Ocean break-up" do things finally pick up and some life is injected into the proceedings.

The second side points the way the band would go with their "Eldorado" album, as it contains "Ma-ma-belle", the first truly pop composition by Lynne for ELO. This one song become the template for many of their subsequent hit singles, including "Showdown". While "Showdown" appears on CD versions of this album at the midway point, it was not included on the original LP, so its positioning on the CD in such a way is misleading.

Side two opens with "Daybreaker" an orchestrated overture which would be repeated on future albums on tracks such as "Fire on high". The only real weak point of the side is "Dreaming of 4000" which is reminiscent of tracks on the band's first album, but is unfocused and messy. The album closes with a rendition of the classical piece "In the hall of the mountain king", as used by Rick Wakeman on his "Journey to the centre of the earth" album. This cello based rendition is fun, in the same way as Mike Oldfield's "Sailor's hornpipe is fun, but does not bear repeated listening.

Lynne himself admits that he was still "learning his trade" when this album was recorded. This refers not only to the song writing aspects, but also to the performance. Lynne's vocals and the production thereof would improve immensely on later albums. In all, a decent album, but not one of my favourites by the band.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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