Big Trilby/Colombia Records [Release date 01.11.19]
Since relaunching ELO back in 2014 Jeff Lynne’s ELO have completed sell out world tours, been inducted to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and 2015’s comeback ‘Alone In The Universe’. Despite the ELO handle this is mostly Jeff Lynne’s work from production, singing and song writing through to playing all the instruments. The only other musicians who play on it are engineer Steve Jay, who adds a little percussion and shakers, and long-time ELO band member Richard Tandy, who plays piano on ‘One More Time’. Good to see Tandy involved, not only for the classic ELO connection but also as he has been ill and this meant he sat out the last ELO tour.
The album has already topped the UK album charts and made the Billboard top 50 albums chart, with top 10 placings in the Spanish and Austrian charts.
The title track and ‘Down Came The Rain’ you can picture becoming live favourites, the latter has a hint of the Travelling Wilburys mixed with late 70’s ELO.
‘One More Time’ is the musical lovechild of ‘Rock N Roll Is King’, with a big rock roll riff, plenty of cowbell and a sublime piano solo from Richard Tandy. Divine listening for ELO fans all over the world. ‘Time Of Our Life’ is one of those classic upbeat ELO tunes, based on the Wembley stadium show and complete with those glorious ELO strings and layered vocal harmonies. You even get a snippet of the ELO classic ‘Telephone Line’.
‘Sci-Fi Woman’ is not that great, although few ELO albums were without one song you didn’t play much. However, the mournful air of ‘Songbird’ highlights Jeff’s vocals and detail he spends the on musical arrangements perfectly. Shades of the late, great Roy Orbison on this one and listen out for the guitar solo, one of his best.
Who would have thought as we enter a new decade Jeff Lynne and ELO would be popular again? The success is on par with the band’s late 70’s heyday. In such a fast changing world it is reassuring to have Jeff Lynne still making great music under the ELO banner and long may it continue. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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