thu 14/11/2019

CD: Jeff Lynne's ELO - From Out of Nowhere | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jeff Lynne's ELO - From Out of Nowhere

CD: Jeff Lynne's ELO - From Out of Nowhere

More of the same from Mr Blue Sky

At once grandiose and down to earth, ELO belong to the Seventies moment which lovingly pastiched simple Fifties rock’n’roll, with added sweeping strings left over from their own early conceptual prog. Double-album Out of the Blue’s status as 1978’s 10-million-selling hit of the year saw them sturdily survive New Wave, thanks to Jeff Lynne’s single-writing knack matching any skinny tie-sporting rival.

Lynne’s first loves of classic pop and production saw him mothball ELO in the Eighties (only for bassist Bev Bevan to gallingly tour as ELO Part II), and give an early digital gloss to his teenage heroes, from George Harrison to Del Shannon. Being the only anonymous Traveling Wilbury confirmed him as a backroom superstar, finally brought into the light by the recent omnipresence of the glorious “Mr. Blue Sky” (first rediscovered by indie Scots The Delgados on a beautiful 2003 B-side), and a series of mega-gig confirmatory votes, climaxing with the 2017 Wembley Stadium show recalled on this second album’s uplifting “Time Of Our Life.”

From Out of Nowhere’s title nods knowingly to Out of the Blue’s high-water mark, which it most resembles on its surging, bittersweet title track, and that disarming, “Telephone Line”- quoting Wembley memoir. Lynne’s one-man band studio obsessiveness is briefly broken by ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy’s boogie piano cameo on “One More Time”, a momentary return to upbeat rock’n’roll which Lynne gives his best Jerry Lee Lewis vocal.

Otherwise, this is a lachrymose album, with lyrics full of final goodbyes which may or may not have poignant import for their private writer. Lynne’s Harrison friendship, the mixed blessing of his Nineties Beatles work, and Lennon’s fondness for ELO despite what he dubbed their “son of Beatles” sound, are incorporated in production similar to his records with the former Fabs, and a voice and guitar sound which helplessly resemble George, not least in the title track’s slurring vocal, where this proud Brummie could almost be Scouse. For all Lynne’s sometimes monastic devotion to the studio, he’s had no new ideas there. Only when the reedy humanity of his diffident voice is left untouched, and matches these often maudlin tunes, does something beyond auto-pastiche emerge.

For all Lynne’s sometimes monastic devotion to the studio, he’s had no new ideas there

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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