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ELO seem to be having a long overdue resurgence at the moment. There hits from the seventies and early eightees seem to be everywhere from hollywood blockbusters to tv commercials.
The familiar seventies line up parted ways a long time ago amidst a flurry of court room battles between Jeff Lynne (writer,singer, producer for all of their material), and other members over usage of the name. Jeff Lynne now owns the brand outright and has decided to re-visit the much loved songs to improve on them using todays technology and about thirty more years experience as a producer.
The result is really a mixed bag.
You see, the early hits (10538 overture, showdown etc), made use of the two cellists and one violinist, overdubbed in the studio to get a raw, semi orchestral sound whilst the late seventies epics (think mr blue sky, livin' thing), used a full forty piece orchestra and male voice choir.
Whilst these re-recordings do sound a lot more crisp and fresh, it seems that our Mr Lynne has used sampled strings and choirs which do sound a bit cheesey and computer-ish in comparison to the massively over produced, but still amazing originals.
The earlier songs do sound a lot better, Lynne's voice so much richer than it used to be, (and it always was good). But i can't help but miss the gusto of late seventies ELO.
Even more fun is the previously unreleased "point of no return", which sees Jeff getting back to his very nearly best..
Lynne does an admirable job handling drums, bass, guitars, and all vocals and his signature production is now unmistakable. It's a very brave effort, but it certainly is an album of two halves...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Mr. Blue Sky
2 Evil Woman
3 Strange Magic
4 Don't Bring Me Down
5 Turn to Stone
7 Telephone Line
8 Livin' Thing
9 Do Ya
10 Can't Get It Out of My Head
11 10538 Overture (40th Anniversary)
12 Point of No Return (Previously Unreleased)