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Friday, November 27, 2009

Album Review: Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery (1979)

Mixing classical music with rock and pop, in theory, is a horrible idea. It's like getting a neutered three-legged chihuahua belonging to a socialite to hump a feral Maine coon cat with epilepsy and a festering case of ringworm . They are completely two different genres of music on two opposite sides of the spectrum, they share little in common instrument wise, and the people who like them want the other party either jailed or euthanized. How could you possibly mix cellos and violins with the even lesser old-school stylings of Chuck Berry? Well, Chuck Berry came up with the song, recorded it, made it a hit, and 20 odd years later a Brummie band by the name of Electric Light Orchestra would go one step further and put the Beethoven back into "Roll Over Beethoven." And despite the threat of annihilating all matter in the known universe, it works out brilliantly.

Now, ELO's 1979 hit Discovery is a shining example of the musical genius of Jeff Lynne and Co. Some of the better known radio hits are on here: "Shine a Little Love", "The Diary of Horace Wimp", "Last Train to London" and "Don't Bring Me Down." And coupled with the likes of "Confusion" and "On the Run", make for a ideal starter album for the ELO-curious. It's not a A-grade album, somehow it fails to project that kind of aura, yet it's one that you would hastily retrieve if your house was burning down. Some of the tracks have that Beatle-like feel to it (Jeff Lynne being a major Beatles fanatic, apparently), in particular "The Diary of Horace Wimp", and overall it has that very British sound to it that makes ELO's music so fantastic. All up, it's as fun as a cheeky root in the park without a condom. B+