(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
Electric Light Orchestra were one of the great bands of mainstream rock in the 70's, with the early nucleus of the band consisting of former members from British rock band The Move. Bandleader supreme for most of the bands career was Jeff Lynne, and his love of pop greats The Beatles had a big influence on the sound of this band. The 1981 release Time was the last release from ELO that had notable commercial success, and is an album generally regarded as a weak release by the group.
Musically this release is rather confusing. Most of the songs here seem to be part of a concept story, set sometime in the future. And the album starts out with what was quite futuristic sounding tunes back in 1981, very heavy on the synths, with a clear pop approach to the songs, and with influences from symphonic prog and disco being mixed together in some driving pop songs.
But after an interesting opening, this release veers out in different directions left and right; with a rather weak reggae inspired tune, one song sounding like a slightly modernized rockabilly tune with Beatles influences, and one almost instrumental film-score sounding synth track being mixed with ballads and a couple of more tunes made in the same vein as the opening songs. Which makes for a slightly confusing album overall; where main man Lynne's musical nods to The Beatles is more of a red thread than the synths dominating many of the songs here.
And the album is a mixed affair when it comes to song quality as well. Many songs have aged poorly; with the futuristic sounds sounding cheesy now. The first three tracks are the best ones on the album, and the ballad "Rain Is Falling" still sounds rather good. The rest of the songs really doesn't hit it now; unless you have personal memories to those songs that makes them sound better in your ears than they really are.
It's not a bad album as such though, but more of a mixed affair that was good when it was new and that hasn't aged all that well. Worth checking out for fans of the group, as well as people interested in early 80's pop with disco and prog influences.
My rating: 65/100