ARTIST: Electric Light Orchestra
TITLE: No Answer / (Electric Light Orchestra in the UK)
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #196 US, #32 UK
SINGLES: 10538 Overture (#9 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah
LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, Bill Hunt, Steve Woolam, Richard Tandy, Wilf Gibson, Hugh McDowell, Mike Edwards, Andy Craig
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Move (long live the Move) transitioned to ELO on this album as the orchestral concept Wood and Lynne were working on came to fruition. The results are mixed, but Lynne’s songs foreshadowed what ELO would become.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Wood and Lynne had been thinking of the concept of the Electric Light Orchestra for a year or so, but they first had to free themselves of obligations around The Move. While doing that, Lynne came up with “10538 Overture”, Wood added a shit-ton of cellos, and there you go – ELO was born.
This was short lived. While Wood was the driver behind The Move, Lynne had a stint as a leader of The Idle Race and joined the Move specifically to work on this eventual project. Wood left after a tour of Italy to form another band (Wizzard – who never made an impression in the US).
The album resulting from the collaboration between Lynne and Wood is kind of messy. There’s definitely a difference between Lynne and Wood – Wood’s songs are more unfocused and usually flights of fancy while Lynne wrote the two key songs – the single and “Queen of the Hours”. This is really for die-hards except for those two tracks. The ‘orchestra’ is just the cello and violin players overdubbing repeatedly, giving it kind of a weird cello-heavy tone.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Bev Bevan refused to play drums on “The Battloe of Marston Moor” because he thought it was terrible. He was mostly right – it’s one of those flights of fancy that ultimately do not satisfy.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few anniversary editions with extra tracks and live tracks.
GRADE: B-: Two great cuts, and a couple of OK Lynne Cuts make it palatable. There’s one or two Wood songs that aren’t bad. An album for completists only.