Spencer Hannabuss - front man and co-founder of The 286 - was kind enough to send ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] a copy of their forthcoming six  track EP [their first 'physical' release] earlier this week so that I could hear the new songs that make up their new download EP first hand. And from the very first notes, I can tell you that this really is an outstanding release and a real testament to the pedigree of this exciting and vibrant outfit.
"Miracle On 286th Street" is a fast paced instrumental piece that, in many respects, would be at home on "ELO2" or "On The Third Day" and would undoubtedly be a favourite in the bands live set. Both this track and "Little Louisa" - a real rocker - lend heavily on the '74 live crowd pleasers that broke the US for ELO during their "Do It With The Light On" live shows - songs such as "Daybreaker"; "Great Balls Of Fire"; "Daytripper"; "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" and: "Orange Blossom Special". Both tracks work and are the perfect partners on the EP to their epic bedfellow.
"... reminds this reader of the reasons why I loved the concept of ELO ... the ELO most folks still loved even after Jeff dispensed with those experimental overdubbed strings ..."
This is a recording that does something else for this particular listener. The vocals, diving cellos and prominent violins give us a hint of what ELO might have sounded like if the commercial skulduggery of the Ardens had not caused the divorce of Roy Wood from his brainchild. The existence and growth in maturity of a band such as The 286 demonstrates that a new generation of artistes inspired by the musical legacy of Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move and ELO can still emerge out of a current music scene full of artistic betrayal and commercial hegemony. Make no mistake about it, based on the evidence provided so far, any serious ELO and Roy Wood follower should check out The 286 and their new EP without delay. Bring on their first full album! [10/10]
Saturday 19th April: EP Launch Party @ The Good Ship, Kilburn, London