ELO, continuing to refine and sand down all the rough edges off their sound, release the last of their records that could be said to include even a smidgeon of the ol' prog madness of days of yore.
Granted, this album has tons more in common with The Moody Blues (preposterous poetic intro and outro, some elegant balladry) and lots of galloping metal guitars, screaming, and lyrics about World War (just like Lemmy), more than it does King Crimson or some such, but it's there.
Jeff Lynne had wanted to make a 'Big Statement' just like all his friends had done, and while he was a few years late, he's gosh darn gonna do it anyway. So there's some bullcrap about 'dreams coming true and something and something', which I'm (obviously) never quite clear about, and don't really care to dig deeply into ... but that's it - we've stepped over the line, and now trodding on pretentious ground.
Luckily, Lynne takes the 'dull but melodic' route rather than the 'bombastic and ugly-as-sin' route like on II
. Yup, the middle part of this record is very pleasant about how it goes along, boring the living daylights out of me. But man them ends - there's gold in them there ends.
"Can't Get It Out of My Head" is probably the best melody ELO ever came up with, and catchy as hell. And sad too - something about loss and picking up the pieces and whatnot as far as I can tell - the early- to mid-period ELO, while they were still perfecting their shtick, were home to some of the more subtle and deep songwriting the band had to offer. Never again would Lynne be so vulnerable as he makes himself on that track. That's followed by "Boy Blue", a bit on the pretentious side what with its Renaissance Fayre intro and all, but it's just a catchy rock tune at heart.
by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza
(blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct]