Jeff Lynne’s ELO, “Alone in the Universe”

Jeff_Lynne's_ELO-2015-Alone_In_The_Universe_cover_hi_resJeff Lynne’s ELO
Alone in the Universe
COLUMBIA
7/10

Alone in the Universe is quintessential ELO. And why shouldn’t it be? For those already aware of the Electric Light Orchestra canon (and the group’s unique take on AOR music that maestro Jeff Lynne made irresistible), this new LP is comfort food. It’s the kind of album that’s devoured so easily, you might not even scratch the surface of the immense amount of detail to be found within when you first drop the needle. Each song has that inimitable middle-pace stroll through descending chords, altered harmonies, and catchy-as-hell melodies.

Once the ears have reacclimated to the joyful ELO aesthetic, the genius of Alone in the Universe comes breaking through the nostalgia-fugue. The chorus of “When the Night Comes” is a modernized homage to The Traveling Wilburys’ “Not Alone Anymore” and the falsetto in “All My Life” is simple, but it hits with an impact one-hundred times harder than that of any gyrating rock star today. “One Step at a Time” reminds us just where The Apples in Stereo got their genius and opener “When I Was a Boy” hits all of the same highs as ELO classics “Strange Magic” and “Turn to Stone.”

When it comes to balladeers and crooners, there’s Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Lynne. And with his first album in over a decade, Lynne reminds us that he’s still got some classic pop-rock juice left in him.

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