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


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

2.43 | 65 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

progaeopteryx | 2/5 |


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