Discovery (1979)


 
1. Shine A Little Love 2. Confusion 3. Need Her Love 4. The Diary of Horace Wimp 5. Last Train to London 6. Midnight Blue 7. On the Run 8. Wishing 9. Don't Bring Me Down

 

The last full length album where the Electric Light Orchestra still sounded like the Electric Light Orchestra. The band was riding a high from their last few albums and, whereas many people look at this record as a step down, it's really not - not a significant one anyway. People have fun with the title of the album "Disco Very" - get it? Yes, it does have elements of disco, but so did just about everything else that was released in 1979. For the most part, the band stays rooted in its pop Beatlesque sound that made them who they are.

The band decided not to tour for this album for whatever reason. Probably because Jeff Lynne just flat out didn't enjoy it. This may have been the reason why the the string players of the group were sacked before the recording took place. The band was now whittled down to a foursome, but since they recorded in the studio with full string sections, the absence is not notable.

Musically, there's not a lot that distinguishes this record from the last few releases. Two of the album's minor hits Shine a Little Love and Last Train to London are a little too disco-ish, but probably the reason why that stands out so much here is that these two songs were actually hits. In other words, the mainstream audience heard them quite regularly. There's not anything else present that fits that mold. Consider, for example, the big hit Don't Bring Me Down. Although it's definitely a period piece, there's nothing here that vaguely resembles disco. This song turned out to be one of the band's biggest, thundering hits that rivaled the best of the best that the band had to offer. Also worth mentioning is Confusion which was a very minor hit, but it sounded true enough to the band's formula that made it welcome by all fans.

The strangest piece here is the very cute and funny The Diary of Horace Wimp that manages to include just about every formula the band was known for in addition to telling a sweet little story. They pull it off nicely, indeed. Also worth mentioning are two very pretty "love songs" as it were, Midnight Blue and Need Her Love.

It's too bad they didn't tour. Even if they didn't use the spaceship again, it would have been fun, and the album which already was selling pretty well, probably would have done even better.

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