Jeff Lynne’s ELO - From Out of Nowhere

Jeff Lynne’s ELO From Out of Nowhere cover
Jeff Lynne’s ELO
From Out of Nowhere
“You can never change, You just keep on being you”, Jeff Lynn sings on “Help Yourself” and I am wondering if that’s self-reflection in any form, since his output with the “Orchestra” has been sporadic in the past few decades, yet no matter what the sleeves say, the musical style remains consistent and immediately recognizable. It gives a sense of continuation of a uniform flow, no matter how many years may have passed.
Pushing 71 Lynne revisited ELO a few years ago, by publishing some best off compilations and then a new album some five years ago that was followed by a quite extensive tour. “From Out of Nowhere” comes a little out of the blue – just to quote the band themselves, but any output from this great artist and visionary is always welcome, no matter when.
“From Out of Nowhere” opens with the booming eponymous track, with its thickly reverberated production and vintage yet rather mirthful sound that’s underlined by some small poignant chords, here and there that give it an air of timelessness, the true mark of a classic.
“Help Yourself” feels absolutely like something that could have come from any of the Traveling Wilburys albums... the sweet Beatlesque ambiance, mixes nicely with a very petty melody and obviously Lynne’s own mellow, yet unmistakable vocals. Bliss.
“All My Love” begins a little abruptly with a huge bassline that grooves along while Lynne subliminally harmonizes trying to squeeze all his love in a few verses and the smooth chorus in this rather pleasant and stylistically somewhat different tune.
“Down Came the Rain” has this awesome chorus that tends to contrast its building verses. It’s a story of love, turning sour and breaking down, with the rain acting as a cleansing, elative force (of nature). This is perfect, effortless pop. Plus Lynne can play and sustain a few notes in a song and just manage to convey a lot more than others do in the entirety of the album. He pretty much plays and produces everything you can hear, with the exception of some extra percussion and some keyboards, I think…
“Losing You” is a sad song, with a rather apparent theme. It’s minor atmosphere has a nice pretty exotic tone, with soft sustained guitars, with even some weird rhythms finding their way into the dna of the song…
“One More Time” is as hard edged and rock ‘n roll – within the confines of the style the band has established itself and it’s nice to see Lynne going for it… also there’s a bastardized piece from “Phantom of the Opera” on guitars, a nice honky tonk bit that comes full circle and restarts the song again… a bit of everything really. Fancy that!
“SciFi Woman” mixes 50-60 rock ‘n roll rhythms with themes and a style lifted from those decades and their nerd culture… to pay tribute to a futuristic “babe” of that era. While not bad, I can’t say I was enamored with it.
“Going Out on Me” pays tribute to the 50s/60s soulful vocal rock ‘n roll that dominated much of the charts at that time. It’s perfectly cloned with a bit of more contemporary guitar. Great nonetheless.
“Time of Our Lives” is a celebratory song, a throwback to the band’s recent past, and more specifically their Wembley Stadium 24th of June 2017 show, that came out as a live album and according to the lyrics, if Lynne’s to be believed was one of the better times of his life. Why not?!
The transition to the bluesy and somewhat Beatleasque “Songbird” is not exactly smooth, the second time in the album or third that an edit or fade is a bit too obvious, but it is what it is; the song is sweet, smooth and nice, rather minimalist instrumentally, but leaving JL to do all the storytelling.
While I think that “Alone in the Universe” was a tad better and more consistent than this outing, at this point I think that anything from this British national treasure would be most welcome…
Despite staying rather true and close to the blueprint he helped create all those years ago, Lynne’s soft multilayered melodies still hold pretty much the same sway they did back in the day and that’s quite magical really… being able to suspend time and make (another) beautiful memory.