Face the Music (1975)


 
1. Fire on High 2. Waterfall 3. Evil Woman 4. Nightrighter 5. Poker 6. Strange Magic 7. Down Home Town 8. One Summer Dream

 

Building on the success of the last release, the guys play it fairly safe here with a straight ahead selection of commercially, happy tunes. Unlike their last album, a lot of the heaviness throughout is tuned out to make room for a variety of likable nuggets. You wouldn't necessarily know that from the beginning, however. The opening song, Fire on High tries to do a little too much - as if they're trying to replicate Eldorado Overture from their last album. The song is filled with weirdness, instrumental chaos and (I think) backwards chanting. It's all kinda impressive, but it ends up being the weakest thing on the album.

At the time of the release, the radio airwaves were saturated with two of the songs here, Evil Woman and Strange Magic. The former being an up-tempo rocker with the latter being a bit more melodious and mystic. As good as these songs are, they don't necessarily "stand out" from everything else here. That's a good thing, because all of the rest of the songs here could have easily been singles. Of course, after the weird opening song and the two hit songs, there were only 5 other tracks on the whole album. The overall length feels a bit brief, but again - it could be due to the fact that the material was so well represented.

One Summer Dream and Waterfall have more in common with Strange Magic with their wispy, high arranged sweeping sound and Nightrider actually features new bassist Kelly Groucutt taking a verse on the lead vocals. Down Home Town is a fun little western ditty and Poker has them rocking out in their hardest fashion yet (hard rocking for E.L.O, that is). Why this song never made into the live shows is a mystery.

Over the band's career, this could arguably be called the album that they "peaked". Even though they would have much more success in the years following, many would argue that the band's flying-saucer image and spectacle, although perfect for the seventies, was a little too over the top. Here, they were still mainly a faceless band that did what they did so well, and many many people were starting to take notice.


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