Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Alone in the Universe review – an excellent return

Buoyed by the success of last summer’s Hyde Park gig, Jeff Lynne has put together only the second ELO album in 29 years.

It covers familiar ground, with the usual mixture of grandiose balladry and harmony-drenched, uptempo rockers.

While he only once comes close to matching the pop perfection of his 70s imperial phase (on the lushly melancholic One Step at a Time), there’s plenty to enjoy elsewhere. Opener When I Was a Boy finds him engaging and autobiographical, while Ain’t It a Drag recalls the breathless momentum of 1981’s Hold on Tight. There is only one misstep – the clumsy, Whitesnake-worthy lyrics to Dirty to the Bone are rooted a little too firmly in the 70s – but otherwise this is an excellent return.

Powered by article was written by Phil Mongredien, for The Observer on Sunday 15th November 2015 08.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010