Sunday, 11 August 2019

Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado (1974)

I can't get it out of my head....

  

Released September 1974

Running time 38.42

After the semi-rock, semi prog indulgence first three albums, Jeff Lynne decided to write a dreaded "concept album" with distinct classical influences in a desperate attempt, apparently, to please his Father, who had criticised his son's work for having "no melody". Quite what the "concept" is I don't really know, something about a Walter Mitty-style character, it would seem, trying to escape his mundane, humdrum life through dreams. Yes, ok. I never get these supposed concepts. It's just rock music to me. Does it sound any good? Yes and no. I still find it somewhat indulgent, but there are definite good points. For all that some say it is a prog rock album, I feel it is far more heading towards the ELO sound of the subsequent five or six years than its three predecessors.

TRACK LISTING

1. Eldorado Overture
2. Can't Get It Out Of My Head
3. Boy Blue
4. Laredo Tornado
5. Poor Boy (The Greenwood)
6. Mister Kingdom
7. Nobody's Child
8. Illusions In G Major
9. Eldorado
10. Eldorado Finale                                                   

Eldorado Overture is two minutes of sound effects, orchestral bombast and sweeping strings before we get to the album's best track, one of Noel Gallagher's favourites in the excellent Beatles-esque grandiose ballad Can't Get It Out Of My Head. It is a superbly atmospheric song, both vocally and musically. Boy Blue eventually breaks out from some classical, symphonic stuff into a typically catchy piece of ELO pop. There are also some excellent passages of music on here - percussion, strings and drums all interplaying well. There are bits in the vocal at the end that remind of the later track, Rockaria!.

Laredo Tornado manages to include a funky undertow to its string orchestration and a bit of brooding blues atmosphere to Bev Bevan's solid drumming. There are slight echoes of the earlier Showdown about it. It is one of the album's best tracks. Lynne's vocal is deeper and bluesy in places too. Poor Boy (The Greenwood) is lively and folk rocky in a sort of Strawbs meet Bob Dylan thing.



As soon as you hear Mister Kingdom you think - The Beatles' Across The Universe. The similarity at the beginning is so great. The Lennon influence continues throughout the song, on other bits too. Lynne never hid his Beatles influence, did he? Nobody's Child is a typical, slow burning, orchestrated piece of ELO rock. Again, Lynne's vocal is Dylanesque. If not Lennon, then Dylan. the track launches straight into the upbeat, string-driven rock 'n' roll of Illusions In G Major. Once more, Rockaria! owes a lot to this. There is a great fuzzy guitar solo in it too. Eldorado has Lynne sounding just like Ian Hunter in his phrasing and diction. If you are a Hunter fan, listen to it, you'll know exactly what I mean. It is when he sings "eldorado". We then get a huge symphonic finale. Yes, it was a tiny bit pretentious, but only a bit. It is pretty enjoyable on the whole.

When I heard this album back in the day, I couldn't get into it much, but re-listens over the years have found me re-assessing it favourably.

B-