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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Electric Light Orchestra


Review by Gary Hill

This album is an intriguing one. It doesn’t have a lot of the polished hit making that would later be part of ELO, but it is recognizable instantly as Electric Light Orchestra. The blend of symphonic music, rock and prog is very effective here. I like this album a lot, really. It should be noted that I reviewed a couple of these tracks on an ELO compilation disc. For the sake of consistency, those track reviews are included here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Eldorado Overture

Opening with weird atmospherics, there is a spoken section that (along with the symphonic music) feels like it could come from a movie. This is very much a classical piece. It definitely does feel like soundtrack music and it gets quite powerful. It does launch into a some more rock oriented music after a while, though. Other than those spoken words, it’s purely instrumental.

Can't Get It Out of My Head
This is a balladic track, but it’s also quite strong. I’ve always liked this one a lot. I could see someone saying the arrangement is a bit schmaltzy, but for ELO it really works.
Boy Blue
A considerably progressive rock oriented introduction gives way to a great ELO trademark jam. They include another extended prog section mid-track for great effect.
Laredo Tornado
Guitar opens this. They launch out into a rather funky, soulful jam as the introduction winds through. The short jam mid-track brings some hints of Beatles-like sounds. After that, they do a short section with just percussion and vocals.
Poor Boy (The Greenwood)
In a lot of ways the verses to this feel like a Bob Dylan song, but delivered with a classic ELO sound. The choruses get a more typical ELO sound. It’s a cool song that’s both a rocker and has a lot of that symphonically tinged Electric Light Orchestra. Some parts of this really soar.
Mister Kingdom
This is a slower song. It really showcases the effectiveness of the combination of rock and symphonic sounds. It’s a powerful piece that’s pretty and yet also very potent. The strings add so much, but the song structure and vocal arrangement would have delivered even without that. The full package is just that much better for the combination.
Nobody's Child
A full symphonic treatment opens the cut. Then they bring out into a great bluesy jam. It’s still got plenty of the ELO styled symphonic rock goodness, though. I really like this song a lot. In fact, it is one of my favorites here. It just oozes cool. The jazzy piano solo is a great touch.
Illusions in G Major
This is very much an old school rock and roller. It is still done with that ELO flair, though. Think “Roll Over Beethoven.”
A symphonic tapestry starts this. Then a piano based structure serves as the backdrop for the impassioned vocals. The cut grows out from there in great fashion. As this gets more involved there are some real theatrical elements that emerge. The weird symphonic prog jam later in the piece, in particular, at times feels like it could come from a film. That section takes it into the next number.
Eldorado Finale
Coming in with the symphonic, cinematic sounds of the previous piece’s conclusion, this works that into quite an inspiring jam. Then, around the one minute mark, it drops to weirdness and the spoken voice from the opening song returns to end this.
Eldorado Instrumental Medley
The first of two bonus tracks, this is a great instrumental melody weaving together various musical themes from the album. It covers a lot of territory and ranges from symphonically powerful to melodically evocative. At times it really rocks out. It’s really a great way to encapsulate some of the best musical moments of the disc into one killer instrumental.
Dark City
This is a short bit of psychedelic dark music. It’s intriguing, but not compelling like the previous bonus track was.


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