This is my least favourite of Electric Light Orchestra's first three albums.
The first half is a suite, rather slow and steady, and it's never been something I've able to really get into. There are bits in each of the songs that are worth something, like the haunting chorus to "King of the Universe", and the strings are very well utilised. But there's something plodding about the whole endeavour. It's not boring, it just doesn't inspire me to take up the cello anytime soon.
The second half is better, and livelier, starting with the smooth instrumental "Daybreaker", where strings and synth combine beautifully, before the snarling "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" (featuring Marc Bolan on guitar), gives ELO one of their best rock tracks of all. It's the best original song on the album.
I say 'original' song, because there's still "In the Hall of the Mountain King" (I've never been able to make my mind up about "Dreaming of 4000", although it does have some nice touches).
I was brought up on Classical music, and this mighty piece from Grieg's Peer Gynt
was always one of my favourites. I'm usually keen to hear any rock band's take on it, and ELO certainly do it justice. It starts with weird electronics, before chugging slowly through the main melody, and then starts to keep changing key, and one might think they've exchanged the gradual growth in tempo for that. But no, that comes later, and it ends up being quite exhilarating (synth duo Erasure were to do a version years later, and that's pretty impressive too).
Overall though, On the Third Day
just doesn't really win me over. It has its good little moments, and a few fine tracks, but ends up being a bit of a failed effort.
Note: I have a vinyl copy of the album, which has the original track listing, hence no "Showdown". Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor