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Electric Light Orchestra - ELO Part II: Electric Light Orchestra Part Two CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra

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2 stars Quite a different era was this, whitout Jeff Lynne ELO is dead. Is like those sad moment like when Waters leave Floyd, or Gabriel leaving Genesis, is another band when a key member leave, but Lynne was going to return soon.

As I say "ELO part II" (not ELO II) is a different Band with a different sound, as an ELO fan I should put 1 star but I will put 2 because I a well produced record and Bev Bevan make a good vocal and drumming work

Report this review (#65311)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars In 1988, ELO drummer Bev Bevan approached Jeff Lynne about doing another ELO album, but Lynne declined. Bevan, intending to continue ELO without Lynne soon found himself amidst a sea of lawyers when Lynne objected to his use of the ELO name. Eventually a legal agreement was made between Bevan and Lynne resulting in ELO officially disbanding and allowing Bevan to use the name Electric Light Orchestra Part Two as the name of his new band. Bevan recruited ELO's former string conductor Louis Clark into the band, along with Eric Troyer (keys and vocals), Pete Haycock (guitars, bass and vocals), and Neil Lockwood (vocals). The result of all of this was this self-titled release of 1990.

Bevan intended to hearken back to the classic ELO sound of the mid-to-late 1970s, but many ELO fans are strongly divided as to whether or not Bevan succeeded. I am of the opinion that he succeeded partially. I do sense strong similarities with ELO's A New World Record and Out of the Blue in these recordings. However, one can also hear a slightly harder edge to ELO in several of the songs, sort of like ELO meets a light version of AOR hard rock, or perhaps even similar to a post-Wetton Asia.

In addition, Bevan's recruitment of Eric Troyer is key here. Although Troyer was mostly known for a long list of session work with numerous big-name artists, on ELO 2 he pretty much fills Lynne's shoes. His writing style is similar to Lynne's and his voice is a cross between Lynne and former ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt. Pete Haycock is also key in giving the "ELO sound" a real guitarist and is on many levels far superior to Lynne on this instrument. I have never been impressed with Lynne's guitar work. Finally, although Bevan only plays drums and adds to the backing vocals, for the first time since he's been associated with ELO, he gets several writing credits.

Overall, this is the most energetic release under the ELO name since Out of the Blue. The mix and production are fantastic and the re-introduction of a string orchestra brings back memories of ELO's classic period, which had been sorely missed throughout the 1980's. Most of the material on here fits nicely into intelligently made pop rock songs, sounding like a mix of classic ELO and a light version of AOR hard rock. "Once Upon a Time" has a strong Moody Blues vibe going through it. "Heart of Hearts" is probably the only song on here that sounds nothing like traditional ELO.

Two songs on this album (Every Night and Kiss Me Red) are not typical subject matter for ELO songs. In fact, they're kind of sleazy compared to the stuff Lynne wrote throughout his career. Perhaps these two songs are what is causing the divide between ELO fans about this Part Two formation of ELO? I'm sure its more than that, but these two songs are obviously very different for ELO.

Even though I found this release to be quite refreshing, I must say that it is still miles away from the progressive and art rock they created in the early 1970's. Recommended to open-minded ELO fans. Not recommended for any progressive rock collection. Two stars seems fitting.

Report this review (#111029)
Posted Thursday, February 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars ELO had called it quit some years ago. I have to say that I had suffered quite a lot with their last studio albums (from "Time" to "Balance Of Power"). After a six years break, a founding member (Bevan) and two veteran ones (Kaminski, already present on their third release and Groucutt, since "A New World Record") got the idea to recreate the ELO sound of their early days. Since Lynne did not agree to join, the name ELO had to be converted into ELO Part Two.

I have read on this site that ELO without Lynne was like the Floyd without Waters. I'm afraid I can not agree with this statement. As far as I know, Gilmour was another major PF member. I would rather do the comparison with Jethro Tull with Ian Anderson or Van Der Graaf Generator withour Hammill for instance. Jeff Lynne WAS ELO on his own.

I have rated their last three albums with one star only, so when I discovered that ELO had recorded an album without Jeff (which I had no clue about before I read this on PA) I was kind of very reluctant to listen to it. Should I go for a zero star rating (although impossible) ?

From the very first notes, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Nice melody : the ELO sound like in ancient times and Eric Troyer's voice which sounds quite close to Jeff's one. There won't be any extraordinary songs here : just a bunch of good tracks like "Hello" which lyrics are incredibly true and I cannot skip to mention a good part of it here. They represent exactly my feeling (and I guess that a lot of people should think so if they would listen to this song) : "Hello Hello, it's great to see you once again, It's been so long, We were such friends, Long time ago. Hello Hello, your smiling face, Your warm embrace, We've been apart, Far too long, It felt so wrong. Nice to know, you're coming over, Nice to know, the wait is over". What do you think about that ?

"Honest Man", "One Upon A Time" and "Thousand Eyes" as well as "Kiss Me Red" are good pop songs. Sub-par of course when compared to ELO masterpieces, but so much superior to what they have produced for the last five albums.

Several tracks explores a heavier side like : "Every Night", "Heart of Hearts" and the closing number "Easy Street". The AOR "Heartbreaker" is one of the few poor tracks here (with "For the Love of a Woman" probably). Still, I prefer these in comparison with the very poor disco/ synth pop we had to endure for so many years.

I am really glad this line-up produced this record (although since it is not ELO, it should not be featured as such but well under a separate entry IMO). What a pity that Jeff didn't want to join. I guess we could have gotten a really good album would it have been the case.

Nevertheless, I decently enjoyed this come back and as an encouragement I will rate it three stars. Just give it a spin if you have liked their 1975-1977 period from "Face The Music" to "Out Of The Blue".

Report this review (#118816)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars ELO Part 2's self-titled debut contains nothing closely resembling progressive rock, but it's actually not that bad of an album when you compare it with the likes of Balance of Power, Secret Messages, Discovery, and Xanadu. In fact, I would say that it is lyrically and musically better than those albums. So, it's not Jeff Lynne at the helm. I'd say big deal, since Lynne had not really done anything remarkable since he moved the group away from its early progressive rock leanings. Instead we're left with a group of Jeff Lynne-wannabes, and although unoriginal in such an approach, it did breathe new life into the ELO pop sound, hearkening back to the days of Out of the Blue and producing something more energetic than anything the group had made in over a decade.

Bev Bevan was behind this ELO spin-off. Bevan actually thought there was more life to ELO and approached Lynne about doing another album in 1988. Lynne wasn't interested, Bevan went ahead anyway, they went to court, then they settled, and Bevan started ELO Part 2. Bevan brought in string conductor Louis Clark with the intention of putting the orchestra back into ELO, giving that "O" the meaning it had had so many years ago. Bevan also brought in Eric Troyer (for the lighter side of Jeff Lynne), Pete Haycock (to replace Lynne's mediocrity on the guitar with a real guitarist), and Phil Bates (for the harder side of Jeff Lynne). Bevan even loosened up on the drums, occasionally inserting short drum rolls (almost unheard of in Lynne's ELO), and even co-wrote some songs (also unheard of in Lynne's ELO). The end product was a sort of "what if ELO had gone a different route after 1977." Well, this is what they would have sounded like in 1991 if they had (without Lynne of course).

Not only did Bevan bring the classic ELO sound back, he also gave it a little bite. The guitar work on this album is harder on some songs than the usual ELO affairs, possibly resulting from influences he may have picked up during his Black Sabbath tour. That's not saying the whole album is like that. They still have their sappy numbers which will always be present on any ELO album after their progressive experimentations of the early 1970s.

A decent pop rock album, well worth the attention of ELO fans, only if you can be open-minded to a Lynne-less ELO. Otherwise, due to the lack of progressive rock on this album, two stars seems appropriate. Three and a half if this were on a "Pop Rock Archives."

Report this review (#148041)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "A pretty fair forgery"

Jeff Lynne decided after the release of "Balance of power" that the Electric Light Orchestra had run its course. Despite the fact that he was the principal songwriter and guiding light of the band, the remaining members had different ideas, and wanted ELO to carry on. Drummer Bev Bevan, who had been in ELO since its formation and indeed since the days of its predecessor The Move, co-owned the band name with Lynne. After discussions between the two, a compromise was reached which allowed Bevan to continue to use the name with the appendage "Part 2" added. This rather clumsy solution was further confused (perhaps deliberately) by the fact that the "Part 2" notation on the cover of this album could be mistaken for the album's title.

If we regard this release as the equivalent of "A momentary lapse of reason" (the first Pink Floyd album after the departure of Roger Waters), Waters description of it being "A pretty fair forgery" also applies here. While Lynne is not involved in the project in anyway, the songs and the sounds have all the hallmarks of Lynne's work with ELO. The catchy melodies, the orchestration, and the quality arrangements all go to make this an album which fits in well in the ELO discography. In a clear effort to enhance the authenticity, Louis Clark arranges the strings, but no other former ELO members are involved (although Mik Kaminski plays violin on one track).

We can be precious about the whole thing and dismiss it as a futile exercise. The fact is though that this is actually a very enjoyable album, which fans of the band would do well to investigate.

Lead vocals are shared three ways with Pete Haycock, Eric Troyer and Neil Lockwood all taking on that role on different tracks. It is Troyer who appears first; if one wished to be cynical this could be because he sounds most like Jeff Lynne. His delivery of the tastefully orchestrated "Honest men" results in a track which feels like an outtake from the "Eldorado" album.

Neil Lockwood's vocals on the other hand are somewhat more rock orientated, his first appearance on "Every night" resulting in a harder, more prosaic straight AOR feel. A personal favourite is "Once upon a time", where Pete Hayock makes his vocal debut on a song he co-wrote with Bevan. While the song is firmly rooted in catchy pop, it does have a fine arrangement, some killer melodies and a good guitar solo too.

The only song not written by members of the band is a cover of Cheap Trick's "Kiss me red". This seems like a rather strange choice, but perhaps Bevan and Co felt they could make a hit out of the catchy chorus.

In all, this is an easy album to dismiss. If we remain positive and assess it on its own merits though, there is some enjoyable if lightweight music here.

Report this review (#223629)
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009 | Review Permalink

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