The Electric Light Orchestra II (1972)


 
1. In Old England Town (Boogie #2) 2. Mama 3. Roll Over Beethoven 4. From the Sun to the World (Boogie #1) 5. Kuiama

 

With Roy Wood exiting after only one album, guitarist/singer Jeff Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan began to "reassemble" and continue the evolution of this band. Or maybe "project" would be a better word instead of "band". For starters, they ditched their French Horn player and incorporated 2 cellists and 1 violin player to accompany Lynne, Bevan, keyboardist Richard Tandy and bassist Mike D'Alberquerque. The band still had a lot to learn, and in some instances they literally outnumbered their audience when they played gigs.

Unfortunately this album is a step backwards in terms of quality and listenability. Since this was the early 1970's, Jeff Lynne somehow got it in his head that all of the songs needed to be "art pieces" that were about 8-12 minutes in length. So in many cases, what sounds like what could have been some decent ideas for songs turns out to be a great big mess. The one cover song on the album, Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven, which would become regularly represented with the band's live shows, is featured here in an eight minute version. I mean, who wants to listen to an eight minute version of Roll Over Beethoven? It's really hard to listen to, regardless of how good it may have sounded in concert. Likewise, the only other listenable song here, Mama, could have benefited from some heavy editing as well (Lynne would finally do this on the Flashback box set, released about 30 years later).

The other three songs are nothing special (yes, there are only three). To be brutal, parts of all three are basically unlistenable. When songs that are nothing special drag on to 10-11 minutes in length, you can see where it can be an actual chore to get through the album. A learning curve was definitely happening.


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