A stupendous album Time
, Lynne's and ELO's last gasp of greatness before they were destroyed by the very synth/pop that makes the album so brilliant.
Though some of the good ol' ELO trappings are still available, notably the choruses of multiple Lynnes, some synthesized string things, and of course the mock-symphonic pomp thing that pumped up the band's more 'classic' albums, this is New Age ELO, one that emulates Buggles with "Yours Truly, 2095", Roxy Music on "Ticket to the Moon", and Gary Numan with "Another Heart Breaks", all mixed in with George Harrison and The Cars for "From the End of the World", along with the operator's manuals for their Prophet 5's.
While some of the sharper eardrums in the audience will still spot a few disco-ish beats (which was all but inevitable in 1981), I contend that this stuff is the result of a deft about-face ... Lynne realised that Xanadu
had painted him into a corner, so he wised up and went for what must've seemed like the best option to recreate the success he'd had in 1973 ... synth/rock was nothing if not the prog of the early-80's.
What matters though, is that Lynne put more thought into Time
than any album since New World Record
, and the result is an album that not only flies the flag with some amazingly strong melodies, but also a compelling sci-fi theme that saves the record from ever being boring.
Lynne's ironic / witty take on the future may not necessarily cause fever dream-hallucinations like Yes, but it's sure a lot more interesting. From the threat of isolation that's "Ticket to the Moon" (another "Can't Get It Out of My Head" rewrite, but a great one), through to the effective synth minimalism of "Another Heart Breaks", to the hilarious and off-putting "Here Is the News", Lynne puts a lot more humanism into his futurist vision than the corresponding Alan Parsons Projects, Asias, and Utopias, all of whom were exploring similar territory in the early 1980's.
by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza
(blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct]