Credit: Gavin Ross, 42Fifty

Rating: 7/10

ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) released its album“From Out of Nowhere” on Nov. 1 2019, after two years of silence. The album was announced through the release of audio from the album’s title track on YouTube on Sep. 26, 2019. The video’s description linked to a site where the listener could preorder the album, and there it was revealed that the album would be released on the first of November. 

This album brings the same old feeling from other works by ELO, yet managing to sound unique from the others. It’s a modern approach to the classic ‘70s era of rock, implementing an electronic and spacey synth and melodic and plucky guitar into their pieces. It replicates the feeling rather well, despite having been made in 2019. Jeff Lyne, the lead singer of the group, still to this day manages to exude an alluring charm from his voice that complements the various instruments that come together to make a track. 

One of the best examples displaying Lyne’s true vocal talent comes from the track “All My Love,” a love song with peppy guitar strums, bouncing percussion, and spacey synth. His voice here is soft and melodic, wonderfully complementing the instrumental in his cry for love. Other songs that are similar include songs like “Time of Our Life,” which features Lyne’s modern equivalent to the vocal patterns and styles he most utilized in its older albums in a stunning tribute to the fans the band was able to perform for during their many tours and concerts. “Losing You” uses magical, mystical high vocal notes alongside a soft guitar and violin track in a somber song about losing his love. “Goin’ Out on Me” features melodies and instruments very similar to a song on 2001’s “Zoom” titled “In My Own Time,” both employing use of classic sound, orchestral elements, and enchanting vocal patterns.

Other tracks on the album shine more of a light on the instrumental work in comparison to Lyne’s vocals, providing some stunning compositional work and instrumentals while still being accompanied by his voice. These songs just don’t focus on his vocals as much as the other songs do. The first track that comes to mind is the title track “From Out of Nowhere,” which is  a light rock ballad that draws more attention to the guitar than his voice. The instrumental is stunning by itself, which is a powerful guitar arrangement that easily sticks around in your head after a listen or two. “Down Came the Rain” is a song with amazing vocals, but is more memorable for the instrumental. It is comprised of a spirited rock melody, bright piano key runs, and a nostalgic synth that create an awe-inspiring tune. “Sci-Fi Woman” is a blend of musical styles featured in older works such as “Evil Woman” or even “Xanadu.” “One More Time” is a masterpiece where Lyne uses his guitar to really show the listener what classic rock and roll is really like. Finally, the track “Songbird” utilizes odd combinations of chords and progression to create an odd, yet satisfying and memorable ending to the album. 

There is one song that happens to fall short from the others, titled “Help Yourself.” It’s not a bad song, but it’s just not very notable or unique. There’s not much to say about it, as it’s a simple rock track that features Lyne telling the listener to help themselves over and over. There are some nice harmonies that brighten the track a bit, but it still doesn’t hold up when faced with the rest of the album. But even for a low point, the song is still good, and the rest of the album just gets better from here. The entire album just feels like a love letter to the fans who have joined Lyne in his musical journey. From 1971 to 2019, Lyne and ELO have managed to create a devout group of followers, myself included, and this album just feels like a big ‘thank you,’ to all these fans. It certainly succeeds in appeasing the fans yet again. I wouldn’t call it their best album, as it doesn’t quite live up to some of their greatest works like “Out of the Blue.” It falls slightly short regarding instrumental and vocal work, but it doesn’t bring the album down. Overall, it manages to become another hit amongst their large library of impressive musical works.

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