Even more slicked-down and hooked-up than Face the Music
, A New World Record
doesn't even have any instrumentals. ELO are by now strictly 'rock band with orchestral backing' and nothing more, though it's been more or less like that since ELO II
I could say that A New World Record
is catchier than ever, but I'm trying to tie the album into the wider career arc of the band, where the 'orchestral side' peaked early and the 'pop side' peaks about 1977, then somewhere in the middle the mix is perfect.
Though I'm not sure that's really the case, since the band went right on truckin' through the early and mid-80's, and still had some decent hooks at that time. No orchestra though, so maybe I'll just call the gradual drop in pop quality a long tapering-off.
All I'm really trying to say is that ELO are at their peak on A New World Record
, as they were on their previous album, so for anyone looking for a place to start, this is probably it. This album has the cool "Telephone Line", home to some of the most desolate and soulful moments in the ELO catalog.
Then there's "Rockaria!", which is "Roll Over Beethoven II" really, except funnier and more rocking (not to mention half as long) ... to me, the rocking parts almost seem to be a rip on Southern Rock, and the opera sections seem to rip on um, everything the old ELO stood for.
The hit was "Livin' Thing", which whilst an improvement on "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic" from the last album, still strikes me as being somewhat less than what ELO are truly capable of ... It's a living thing, it's a terrible thing to lose
is a weak choral hook after such a great build-up to the chorus, but the bridge If I could die upon the stage, hey!
is fucking brilliant.
by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza
(blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct]