Jeff Lynne has become a real one man music machine who has managed to produce a long player that combines the different phases of that ELO 'sound' whilst retaining his own solo imprint and imbuing it with the afterglow of his heroes The Beatles and Roy Orbison. Jeff's love of The Fab Four is easy to identify with lead single and opener "When I Was A Boy" a now familiar autobiographical - if not beautiful - song with many Lennonesque facets with "Ain't It A Drag" a good 'ol sixties screamer with a hint of his Traveling Wilburys adventure. "I'm Leaving You" is made for The Big O and is the perfect partner to Lynne's other Orbison opus "Endless Lies".
My personal fave at the time of writing is "Love And Rain" - a return to the early ELO roots of "Showdown" which is nicely counterbalanced by the smashing disco foot stomper "One Step At A Time" - an excellent update from those heady "Discovery" days which is sure to be a live hit during the upcoming 2016 UK and Europe tour. "The Sun Will Shine On You" is sheer sonic class - a delight to the ears with the pensive "All My Life" and embittered "Dirty To The Bone" - the antithesis to "Evil Woman" - both truly enjoyable if not representative of the solo element of Jeff's career within the album. The reggae tinged rocker "When The Night Comes" could easily nestle in "Balance Of Power" with the haunting title track "Alone In The Universe" almost an echo of "Without Someone" but feeling like a rediscovered echo from the "Secret Messages" sessions.
This is not ELO as we knew it and it ain't a Jeff Lynne solo album either. It does what it says on the tin, a hybrid if you will. This is Jeff Lynne's ELO, pure and simple. Drawing upon the various phases of ELO and Jeff's projects thereafter, "Alone In The Universe" is a familiar record, built upon an epic legacy yet fresh and thrilling to behold here in Yours Truly 2015 ... and a certain Top 5 album. [10/10]
Tracks: "When I Was A Boy" [3:13] ~ "Love And Rain" [3:28] ~ "Dirty To The Bone" [3:05] ~ "When The Night Comes" [3:20] ~ "The Sun Will Shine On You" [3:28] ~ "Ain't It A Drag" [2:33] ~ "All My Life" [2:50] ~ "I'm Leaving You" [3:06] ~ "One Step At A Time" [3:21] ~ "Alone in the Universe" [3:51] ~ "Fault Line" [Bonus] ~ "Blue" [Bonus] ~ "On My Mind" [Japan only]
JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: APRIL 2016 UK TOUR DATES
JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: 2016 EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends "Alone In The Universe" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.
Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 12-Nov-2015