Music review: Jeff Lynn’s ELO

Jeff Lynne may not talk much, but his music speaks for him. Picture: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Jeff Lynne may not talk much, but his music speaks for him. Picture: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
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THE orchestral pop pomp of 70s chart behemoths Electric Light Orchestra is ideally suited to Glasgow’s spaceship-shaped arena, which looks like it was modelled after the cover of one of their most famous albums, Out of the Blue.

Hydro, Glasgow ****

This particular touring incarnation is a well-drilled machine fronted by ELO mainman Jeff Lynne with much of the rest of the group doubling as Take That’s backing band. Slick functionality was the order of the day but was all that was required for lift-off – just as well as Lynne is not the most congenial of frontmen, even leaving the band introductions to musical director Mike Stevens.

Instead, the music did all the talking. Lynne’s sleek symphonic pop pastiche of his 50s and 60s musical heroes has stood the test of time. As Oasis have also demonstrated, there is plenty mileage in spinning out the Beatles blueprint, though the luscious massed harmonies of All Over The World were closer to a polished Beach Boys homage.

Everything was a sophisticated tribute to musical heritage of some sort or other, whether the pub rock’n’roll of Rockaria!, the disco strings and pop funk of Last Train to London or the tooled up doo wop of Telephone Line. Their 1972 debut single 10538 Overture pointed back to the psychedelic pop of Lynne’s previous band The Move and George Harrison’s Handle With Care was the choice selection from the catalogue of his later band, The Travelling Wilburys.

But the euphoric pop likes of Livin’ Thing, Sweet Talkin’ Woman and Mr Blue Sky transcended comparison to best represent ELO’s own mighty legacy.

FIONA SHEPHERD