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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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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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