- 18 Nov 19
More Strange Magic
Try as you might – and why would you even try – there’s no stopping toes tapping or heads nodding when any of the great ELO singles – ‘Evil Woman’, ‘Livin’ Thing’, I mean, come on! – jump out of a radio. Jeff Lynne just managed to capture something joyful and if critics are sometimes snotty – he’s aping The Beatles a bit too much, he’s been making the same record since about 1974 – he’s long past caring, if he ever did, and his millions of fans never gave a monkey’s in the first place.
With this, the second album under the Jeff Lynne’s ELO moniker, you know exactly where you are. It’s that same production sound familiar to all from various massive records with Tom Petty, The Wilburys, even The Beatles themselves. ‘From Out Of Nowhere’ – a 45 that could have come out anytime in the last 45 years – is exactly what you would expect, and what’s wrong with that? You'll be whistling along before it's even half-way done. ‘Help Yourself’, ‘Sci-Fi Woman’, pretty much everything else here puts a smile on the face, an under valued property in most music. Beatley backing vocals? Check. Harrison style slide breaks? Check. A bit of fifties with ‘Goin’ Out On Me’? Yep. That ever so slightly over-used standard ELO guitar arpeggio? There’s one around every corner. The bit in 'Songbird' where the tambourine comes in? Lovely. You either like it or you don’t, and if you’re after something heavier, there’s a new Nick Cave album in the next aisle.
In ‘Time Of Our Life’, Lynne celebrates his amazement that 60,000 punters would want to come out to see him, but of course they would, and they will again. There’s no wheel reinventing here, just business as usual - it's even got a spaceship on the front cover - so, apart from the forced rock n’ roll misstep of ‘One More Time’, the faithful can proceed with the upmost confidence.