UA-LA040-F Electric Light Orchestra II
Produced by Jeff Lynne
Released on February 1973
UK CHART POSITION #35 . . . US CHART POSITION #62
Find it at GEMM
UA-LA040-F cover
[high resolution photo]
 

H ow much good could a new band do when the band had just chucked Wood? In fairness, Roy Wood left of his own accord, leaving a certain discord in his absence. Jeff Lynne became the de facto leader, added several string players to replicate the classical accompaniment first provided by Wood, and fairly swelled with ambitious designs. Electric Light Orchestra II is classical rock at its most literal, attempting to blend classical passages with rock songs. I say “attempt” because it’s never really successful. Sure, there are moments on “In Old England Town,” “Mama” and “From The Sun To The World” when it sounds like ELO might be able to pull this off, but more often it sounds like Chicago on a bad acid trip. Not everyone thought it was a terrible idea, and “Roll Over Beethoven” even became a hit on the strength of its novelty factor. However, ELO II could be reckoned the band’s worst album (unless you want to fast-forward to Balance of Power) if only for the terrible sound quality. With Lynne assuming the production reins, he drives his horses into the muddy wild, shrouding his vocals and rendering what should be lush arrangements as a cacophonous mess. Music like this lives or dies by the production quality, and ELO II is simply one of the worst-produced albums I’ve ever heard. (If someone who owns the CD can offer absolution, let me know.) I’m usually only a minute or two into ELO II before I become frustrated with the final product; it could have been so much better if Lynne had hired an outside producer, wrote a few more tracks, and someone had got the engineering right. They did get it right the third time, returning to the Beatlesque confections of their first album (“Queen of the Hours,” “Mr. Radio”) even while keeping the string section engaged. So chalk ELO II up to a navigational error that nearly found the band sucked into the prog rock vortex, and pick carefully from this peck of pickled curios (perhaps starting with “Kuiama”).

UA-LA040-F inner gatefold UA-LA040-F back cover
UA-LA040-F inner gatefold UA-LA040-F back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. IN OLD ENGLAND TOWN (BOOGIE #2)    (Jeff Lynne)    6:51
  2. MAMA    (Jeff Lynne)    7:00
  3. ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN    (Chuck Berry)    8:05
  4. FROM THE SUN TO THE WORLD (BOOGIE #1)    (Jeff Lynne)    8:17
  5. KUIAMA    (Jeff Lynne)    11:14

CREDITS

MIKE ALBERQUERQUE -- bass, vocals
BEV BEVAN -- drums
MIKE EDWARDS -- cello
WILF GIBSON -- violin
JEFF LYNNE -- guitar, vocals, moog synthesizer
RICHARD TANDY -- moog synthesizer, piano, guitar, harmonium
COLIN WALKER -- cello
Marty Evans and Al Vandenberg -- photography
Mike Salisbury -- art direction
Lloyd Ziff -- design
Greg Shaw -- liner notes

return to ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK February 1973 Harvest LP/CS    
US February 1973 United Artists LP/CS/8T UA-LA040-F/CA40-G/EA40-G gatefold cover, inner sleeve
US 1976 United Artists LP/CS UA-LA040-F gatefold cover, inner sleeve, insert
GER   Harvest LP 062 05243 unique gatefold cover
  1983 Jet CS ZGT 38228 repackaged w. ELDORADO
UK   Fame LP FA 3003 different cover
US 1990? Jet CD/CS ZK 35533  
JPN   Sony CD SRCS-6027  

 

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