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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

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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."

progaardvark | 2/5 |


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