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Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 425 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I can't get it out of my head

After Roy Wood left ELO, it was with some trepidation that I continued to follow the career of the band. The first single they released without him, a stonking cover version of "Roll over Beethoven" indicated that while they may be collectively competent in performance terms, there were doubts about their song writing ability. For me, "ELO2" and "On the third day" only served to emphasise those doubts. "Eldorado" however served to dispel any such fears.

Here we have a bold statement by a band with which they identified their own territory, and laid claim to it in the best way possible with what is arguably the best album of their entire career. "Eldorado" (sub-titled "a Symphony by the Electric Light Orchestra") is a symphonic concept album about "goings on in a dream world", which fuses bombastic orchestration with supreme melodies, and a notable variety of styles.

The album opens with the "Eldorado overture", an instrumental with full orchestration which soars and dives like a flock of demented eagles. The violin players saw through their strings with unrestrained enthusiasm. A piano restores order though to introduce the reflective ballad "Can't get it out of my head", surly one of ELO's most appealing songs. With these first two tracks, Jeff Lynne set out his stall, and stated once and for all that the ELO project was in fact only just starting.

"Boy blue" picks thing up again, being a mini-epic with true prog ambitions. "Larado tornado" is more in the vein of a power ballad, the chorus having something of a menacing overtone. Side one of the album closes with the Robin Hood era inspired "Poorboy" which soars once again, the orchestra testing Lynne's vocal by sending him to ever increasing heights.

Side two opens with Mr Kingdom, a tasteful but thinly veiled parody of the Beatles "Across the universe". "Nobody's child" is the only nondescript track on the album, being a bluesy late night barroom sway-a-long. The strangely named "Illusions in 'G' Major" is an absolute belter of a rock and roll song, which thunders along driven by a Roy Wood's Wizzard like wall of sound. Its closest relative is probably the Moody Blues "I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band". The album closes with the title track, a reflective power balled with wonderful lyrics which tie the whole album together. This leads into a reprise of the opening overture which builds to a climactic conclusion before being brought down to earth with the spoken coda "The dreamer, the unwoken fool, high on a hill in Eldorado".

One can only speculate what Roy Wood must have thought when he heard "Eldorado". Undoubtedly it contained everything he had declared ELO intended to represent when he was one of the project's main protagonists. ELO's early albums, including the one Wood played on, failed to meet the lofty ambitions laid out for them of "picking up where the Beatles left off with "I am the walrus"". With "Eldorado", ELO arguably fulfilled that ambition.

The expanded remaster has a couple of bonus tracks, an early version of "Larado tornado" called "Dark city", and a collage of extracts from orchestral backing tracks.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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