Electric Light Orchestra II

Electric Light Orchestra

Jet / Epic Records, 1973

http://www.elo.biz

REVIEW BY: Eric E5S16

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/01/1998

Electric Light Orchestra, led by Jeff Lynne, is most popular for their pop-sounding records, like "Turn To Stone", "Evil Woman", and "Can't Get It Out Of My Head". But if you observe their album tracks, you will notice that they have experimented with orchestral and classical music. Their second album, Electric Light Orchestra II, has that experience, more ways than one.

On that topic, one thing I have always emjoyed about ELO, is how they used instrumentation in various songs. One song in particular, is "Fire On High", from their 1975 release, Face The Music. This song was heavily used for introductions to various radio and television programs. Like this song, the opening track from ELO II, "In Old England Town (Boogie #2)", is anything BUT a boogie. The beginning of this song is heavily instrumental, and could be easily used for a mystery/horror flick. This piece has you sitting back and visualizing something from such a movie.

"Mama" also has instrumentation of an orchestra-type fashion, which has been heard in the band's most popular songs. Using cellos, violins and strings, this song is a typical ELO song, a slow-paced tune in the standard pop vein.

Probably considered the only well-remembered song from this album is their cover version of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven". What makes this version so great, is that ELO mixes rock and roll with classical music. Since Beethoven was a popular classical music composer, the beginning of this song sounds like basic classical music, as ELO begins playing Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Then, they rip into the familiar opening guitar riff Chuck Berry used in his song. Throughout the song, it's rock and roll, as they use the familiar riffs from Beethoven's 5th Symphony. This is a great way of experimenting with two different sources of music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"From The Sun To The World (Boogie #1)" starts out with synthesizer keyboards that are just too sweet. When the vocals kicks in during the first minute, this song features orchestration with strings and keyboards heard in any popular ELO song. But during the third minute, it's all classical music. Then, in its fourth minute, it takes another turn: It's piano-and-orchestra boogie. The vocals return in the fifth minute, as heard earlier, and ends throughout with the 'boogie' music.

The album ends with "Kuiama", another typical pop-rock ELO song. Like The Beatles, this song has similarities to the fab four's later albums, like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour and Abbey Road. The ending of this song is somewhat psychedelic, yet it has that ending effect as in The Beatles' "A Day In The Life".

Each song on this album is long. The shortest song is clocked in at 6:54 and the longest at 11:19. Still, this album clearly defines how a band can experiment with two different sources of music, both classical and rock. This album is not to be ignored. Most fans of music recognize Electric Light Orchestra for their AM radio pop rock favorites in the Seventies and early Eighties. But you'd be surprised in listening to their many album tracks, as they use orchestration in their music. Here you'll see why the word ORCHESTRA is used in their name. In fact, some of their music could be compared to the instrumentation of such groups as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and King Crimson. But ELO's music is much more styled in the pop category as compared to ELP's and King Crimson's music.

ELO II is an experimentation, and an excellent one. Where one may just focus on a band's popular songs heard on the radio, many may want to hear the other songs that didn't make it regularly on the airwaves. In experimenting with that, you maybe just surprised as I was in what you hear. A second look at a band that may just be famous for their easy-going pop tunes, has more than enough talent to explore the boundaries of popular music. ELO just does that, as they feature orchestration with both rock and classical music. Classical music is another source of music that most rock fans seem to ignore. After hearing ELO II, not only would some of these rock fans take another look at ELO's music in another sense, they just might do the same for Classical Music as well.

Rating: A

User Rating: C+


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© 1998 Eric E5S16 and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jet / Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.