Jeff Lynne's ELO's From Out Of Nowhere: What You Need To Know
From his early work as a member of 60s group The Move, alongside future Wizard mainman Roy Wood, to his time in the Travelling Wilburys, a supergroup which counted the likes of Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and George Harrison amongst its ranks, Jeff Lynne has been a fixture of the British music scene for more than half a century now. For most of that time, his main channel of output has been Electric Light Orchestra, the band originally formed out of the ashes of The Move in 1970.
Under the ELO banner, Lynne has delivered 13 albums since their eponymous 1971 debut, the most recent of those, Alone in the Universe, arriving four years ago.
This week Lynne is back with studio album No. 14. It's called From Out of Nowhere, it's in stores today, and here's everything you need to know about it...
A little background...
When Alone in the Universe made its arrival in 2015 it represented the first ELO album for 14 years, and much of the time that has elapsed since has been spent on the road, both in North America and Europe, including a show performed to a 60,000-strong crowd at Wembley Stadium which formed the basis for 2017 live album Wembley or Bust.
Despite his advancing years and busy schedule, Lynne was clearly on a roll and, thankfully for his fans, the gap between albums soon looked to be a much shorter one, with plans for a 14th studio album unveiled earlier this year.
Who's producing it?
As always, Jeff Lynne is handling production on the new album himself, with Steve Jay engineering.
Any special guests?
Nope. In fact, apart from a piano solo courtesy of longtime ELO member Richard Tandy, Jeff's pretty much playing everything himself here.
What does it sound like?
For most of his career with ELO, Jeff Lynne's songwriting has been easy to recognise and the familiar elements are all here; the finely crafted layers of sound, the Beatles-esque melodic tendencies and the lush vocal arrangements that have all become part of his trademark sound.
As was the case with his previous record, From Out of Nowhere sounds less like an exploratory mission into uncharted territory than it does a conscious effort to refine that winning formula and distill it down to its most crucial essence. Two of the best cases in point arrive towards the tail-end of the new album, namely the recent single 'Time of Our Life' and the album's parting shot, 'Songbird', which could almost be bookends at either end of the musical spectrum on offer here.
Does it deliver?
Lynne has been around for a long time and really has nothing left to prove to anyone expect himself, and while there are no wheels being reinvented on From Out of Nowhere there's something oddly comforting about watching a master craftsman continue to refine and perfect his own formula in such single-minded fashion.
While there's a timeless quality to the music, the album's lyrical themes of hope and optimism seem to run counter to the times we're living in, but maybe that's why a visit from Mr. Blue Sky is exactly what we needed right now.