Album review: JEFF LYNNE – Armchair Theatre





Frontiers (Released 19th April)

Originally released back in 1990, Jeff Lynne’s first solo album now gets a re-issue with a couple of bonus tracks. The album was a minor success on its release only just making the Billboard top 100 and number 24 in the UK. That was surprising as it had a big push at the time and featured artists who Jeff Lynne had recently worked with like George Harrison and Tom Petty, plus his old ELO band mate Richard Tandy appeared on the album. Plus of course the Traveling Wilburys had been a big hit in the previous few years.

This is a great album and it is good to have it back freely available. Where to start? Well the singles ‘Lift Me Up’ and ‘Every Little Thing’ are classy pop tunes, ably helped by the magic of George Harrison. ‘September Song’ is a cover and another version of this song was used on a BBC sitcom from the same period ‘May To September’. Jeff Lynne’s version shows his vocals off to good effect and ELO trivia buffs another ELO connection with Dave Morgan on backing vocals, who appeared on ELO’s ‘Secret Messages’ and appeared live in the band’s mid-80’s line-up.

‘Now You’re Gone’ has an Eastern flavour and saw Jeff Lynne move into a new musical area. ‘Save Me Now’ is perhaps the albums weakest link, but the Tom Petty co-write ‘Blown Away’ is superb. It features the late Del Shannon on backing vocals who was due to replace the late, great Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys.

Two bonus songs in the shape of ‘Borderline’, a sparse pop tune that was released on the single ‘Lift Me Up’. ‘Forecast’ was recorded back in 1989 and is previously unreleased. Not a bad tune but not up to the usual high standards of Jeff Lynne.

Essential for fans of Jeff Lynne and ELO and well worth having in your collection. Now we have had these re-issues plus last year’s so-so covers album ‘Long Wave’, what fans really want now is an all new album…well we can but hope!


Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)

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