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ELO – [Album]

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Sunday, 24 February 2008

There’s no denying that Jeff Lynne is a genius. There is also no denying that he rocks the best afro/beard the world has ever seen despite the best efforts of Questlove, that guy from TV on the Radio and Bob Ross. And, when he isn’t out, accidentally starting one of the greatest super groups of all time (The Traveling Wilburys), Lynne runs a little outfit named the Electric Light Orchestra. Chances are if you’ve seen a modern movie rife with disco haircuts, cocaine and/or gratuitous pornography, you may be familiar with ELO.

Their recent release, titled Ticket to the Moon Vol. 2, is another categorical example of why my feelings for this band can’t justly be put into words. After discovering them on some guitar rock album from Time magazine, I’ve kept a selection of their songs close to my fingers (and still haven’t been able to figure out who the hell “Bruce” is). Not like I needed any help making such an important decision, but Ticket now has me convinced that ELO is the only band I’ll need to listen to if I ever find myself stuck on a deserted island.  

The title track off this new release of ELO’s greatest hits slaps down some piano, and is complete with a catchy, trademark, Lynne-echoed chorus. “Do Ya” is a song I’ll never intentionally listen to, but can’t help sing along to when its turn comes on album, as I can’t even begin to count the number of films and commercials this song has been in. The piano on “It’s Over” guides us through a four-minute journey I’m afraid to depart from when it ends. Ticket’s real gem comes by way of “Last Train to London,” with strings and a drum cadence that can only conjure up visions of fast times, too many cocktails, polyester coats, tacky swimwear, slim pants, fast cars, Aviators and easy women.

At a certain point, someone way more important than me is going to note that ELO may be the best least talked about band of all time. My theory is, that many chalk them up to be a guilty pleasure, which I’m certain I was doing at some point or another. Next thing I knew, I was in a car with four other dudes shouting along to some lyrics. I had a vision. This band is not to be ashamed of. All one has to do is take a listen to an ELO compilation like Ticket, and realize Lynne and his cronies were dishing out a style that has never been duplicated and only imitated.

More on ELO here: www.elomusic.com

Ticket to the Moon is out now on Epic.

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