Balance Of Power
Aaah, ELO - remember them? Yeah, violins and cellos and beards
and funny moustaches and endless Top Of The Pops appearances and
albums like 'A New World Record' and 'Out Of The Blue' and
Oh, that spaceship stage! Remember 'Rockaria!', 'Telephone Line',
'Livin' Thing', 'Turn To Stone' and 'Sweet Talkin' Woman'? Remember
'The Diary Of Horace Wimp'? Remember, remember, remember
now the Electric Light Orchestra are back - in a somewhat depleted
form, I might add - but back nonetheless. Returning to the drum
stool that made him famous is Bev Bevan, the Brummie beat-keeper
who since ELO disappeared a few years ago, has had a brief spell
with Black Sabbath. While reoccupying his rightful position behind
banks of keyboards is Richard Tandy, another man who shared the
Orchestra's finest moments in the Seventies. Also retreading familiar
ground is Mack, ELO's old engineer who, at Munich's Musicland
Studios (natch), has mixed the band's new album. Oh yeah, and
Jeff Lynne is back, too.
you talk about talent, you talk about the likes of Jeff Lynne.
Effectively, he IS ELO, and here, as before, he's written, arranged
and produced every last scrap - also contributing all vocals,
all guitars (including bass guitar), piano and other assorted
'Balance Of Power' is ELO's first album for 38 years, so maybe
we shouldn't revel in recollection but view this new offering
soberly. Then again why not recall the ELO of yesteryear? Because
all Lynne has done here is to haul the band into the Eighties
by giving everything a thorough dust down and a lick of paint.
The strings may have gone, but keyboards can simulate them if
need be, and to further modernise the overall sound, Lynne and
Tandy have clearly used a lot of the new technology at their disposal.
So don't worry, the band haven't changed that much.
far as individual tracks are concerned, well, there's no 'Mr.
Blue Sky' or 'Wild West Hero', but a number of great songs can
be found here all the same. 'Is It Alright' at the end of the
first side is classic ELO, and to start the flipside on a similar
high note, 'Sorrow About To Fall', complete with some welcome
saxophone, is another marvellous track. Sure there are one or
two songs on the album that could, by Lynne's standards, be classed
as average. But lets face it, even his average songs are pretty
standout track is 'Without Someone', a smooth, smoochy midnight
song for the cocktail bar, but then every song on 'BOP' tends
to grow on you after a coupla plays. None represent a gigantic
leap forward, but all serve to show that ELO are back - with an
Putterford, Kerrang! Issue 118, 17-30 April 1986