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Electric Light Orchestra - Zoom CD (album) cover

ZOOM

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.00 | 145 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Phut phut

Following the 1986 ELO album "Balance of power", Jeff Lynne decided that the band had run its course, and embarked on a solo career. The rest of the band however felt that there was life in the old dog yet, and in what was clearly a legal compromise (Bev Bevan and Jeff Lynne owned the name jointly), continued as the unfortunately named Electric Light Orchestra Part 2.

In a surprise move some 14 year later, Lynne bought out Bevan's share of the original band name, and released what is effectively a solo album under the name Electric Light Orchestra. "Zoom" does feature the occasional guest, not least of whom are former Beatles Ringo and George, but Lynne plays pretty much everything you hear, writes all the songs, and produces the album. Most significantly, the only former band member to appear is Richard Tandy on one track, and the album does not (yet?) feature in the discography on the official website. On the other hand, the sleeve illustration has the giant "Wimpy" spaceship which formed the centrepiece of the band's stage show in the 1970s.

Musically, the album has more in common with the later releases by ELO, with less emphasis on the Orchestra and more on the guitar driven power pop which yielded a string of hit singles for the band. Pretty much all the tracks here would have been potential singles had they been recorded in the 1980's. We have an array of ballads, upbeat pop, straight rock and roll, and blues. There is nothing surprising about the set, and nothing remarkable either. While the songs are reasonably enjoyable, nothing jumps out as particularly inspired. From that point of view, this album has all the feel of the follow up to the rather ordinary "Balance of power".

Jeff Lynne is unquestionable a master of his craft. He has a flair for writing catchy songs, with pleasing melodies. Unfortunately, it seems he is quite happy to rest on his laurels. "Zoom" was the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, a new direction, or at least a venture into different waters. What we have though is a decidedly average ELO album. At time of writing, this remains the final ELO release.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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