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Electric Light Orchestra - ELO 2 [Aka: Electric Light Orchestra II‎] CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.63 | 285 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Roll over.. Roy

After the briefest of stays with his brainchild, Roy Wood left the Electric Light Orchestra. His sole legacy was the band's fine self titled debut album. Jeff Lynne therefore became the de-facto leader of the band and set about continuing the project.

The first indication of what we could expect from the post Wood ELO came in the form of this album. It is fair to say "ELO II" was a brave release. With just five lengthy tracks, it represents the most progressive point in their entire career. The songs are generally among the least commercial in ELO's catalogue, the sole exception being the cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll over Beethoven".

"In old England town" is a plodding, and frankly messy cello driven piece, which falls between the two stools of appealing but simple rock, and complex prog. In the end it is neither. "Momma" is certainly more melodic, the reflective lyrics and melancholy tune being sympathetically accompanied by violin and Moog (synth).

ELO's 8 minute rendition of "Roll over Beethoven" is arguably the best version of this oft covered song. The frantic pace and wall of sound backing render the song absolutely compulsive. It is ironic then that this, the only song on the album not composed by Lynne, should have been selected as the sole (but enormously successful) single release.

The second side of the album consists of just two tracks. After a soft piano intro, "From the sun to the world" features more pioneering Moog synthesiser and a retro sounding echoed vocal. The track weaves its way through a number of different moods, including a sudden deviance into a boogie section, without ever really getting anywhere. The final track, the 11 minute "Kuiama", is an extended big sounding ballad with pleasant but undemanding instrumental passages.

While there is much to admire and enjoy in ELO 2, on the whole I find the album rather unsatisfactory. The band's, and especially Jeff Lynne's, ambitions appear to have outpaced their natural development. As a result, much of the album sounds muddled and unpolished. Had they made the album later in their career, it would probably have sounded a whole lot better, and the tracks would have been nurtured to deliver their full potential.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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