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Electric Light Orchestra: Zoom

Zoom, the Electric Light Orchestra's first studio album of new material in 15 years, isn't really an ELO album -- contrary to what Jeff Lynne, the band's sonic architect, and Epic Records, the band's longtime label, lead you to believe. In this case, Lynne is ELO, taking care of the writing and producing, as well as lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, piano and other keyboards, bass and drums. Former Beatles George Harrison (slide guitar on "A Long Time Gone" and "All She Wanted") and Ringo Starr (drums on "Easy Money" and "Moment in Paradise") show up, as does veteran ELO keyboard player Richard Tandy. But that's it. And don't be listening for the 40-piece orchestras and 30-member choirs that made ELO such an aural spectacle in the Seventies, because you won't hear them.

Instead, despite plenty of classic ELO elements layered harmonies, ringing guitars, melodic rushes, string arrangements and rootsy rock stylings Lynne has managed to make a stripped-down ELO record that in many ways is more similar to his 1990 solo outing, Armchair Theatre. This is a smart move. Asking mainstream America to embrace a sequel to, say, ELO's 1979 disco-influenced smash Discovery could be even more disappointing than releasing a Genesis album without Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins. (Calling All Stations, anyone?) Lynne's subdued approach makes for some shining moments ("Stranger on a Quiet Street," "Really Doesn't Matter At All"), but few of these 13 tracks are built on the catchy hooks and high drama that made "Don't Bring Me Down," "Livin' Thing" and "Evil Woman" so memorable.

So is Zoom ELO or isn't it? You be the judge.

Track Listing
1. Alright
2. Moment In Paradise
3. State Of Mind
4. Just For Love
5. Stranger On A Quiet Street
6. In My Own Time
7. Easy Money
8. It Really Doesn't Matter
9. Ordinary Dream
10. A Long Time Gone
11. Melting In The Sun
12. All She Wanted
13. Lonesome Lullaby

Added: October 19th 2001
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Epic Records
Hits: 2726
Language: english

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