Face The Music
Electric Light Orchestra
United Artists 546
Released: October 1975
Chart Peak: #8
Weeks Charted: 48
Certified Gold: 1/23/76
Face the Music is more fine work from the Electric Light Orchestra, which rather quietly has evolved into a most consistent septet. Leader Jeff Lynne remains one of a few Sixties rockers who has developed a new and more adventurous style with a minimum of chaff in the process. In this setting he has successfully integrated a recognizable string trio (an achievement in itself) with his own melodic strings, producing a stately music without being stuffy or saccharine. Nor do the cellos and violin seem a mere afterthought.
The Electric Light Orchestra, led by former Move member Jeff Lynne, is better than most groups who try to combine rock with classical motifs. At least the ELO is skillful and unpretentious. But what is the sense of mixing whiskey and wine? The powers, techniques, effects, and schematics of rock and classical music are at polar odds with one another. Outside of relief from the boredom of playing the twang-thump of rock, there doesn't seem to be any valid reason to try to achieve this mutant sound. And, even though ELO's classical orchestrations are neatly done, they cannot disguise the basic weakness of the rock material.
- Joel Vance, Stereo Review, 2/76.
Another beautiful set from the seven Brits who helped pioneer the merger of classical and rock on a mass basis. Divided fairly equally into smooth, flowing melodies fronted by equally relaxing singing and easy rockers, the guitar, vocals and writings of Jeff Lynne remain dominant. New to the group, however, is Kelly Groucutt, who handles bass and takes over on lead vocals from time to time. With a softer voice than Lynne's, Groucutt provides the balance that has been missed in past albums. Guitars, violins and cellos melt together easily under Lynne's production, and the unlikely combination works as well as anything the band has ever done. Musically, a truly beautiful LP. Best cuts: "Waterfall," "Evil Woman," "Poker," "Down Home Town."
- Billboard, 1975.
Superb production and a good song lineup featuring "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic." * * * *
- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
ELO's formula first jelled into a sleek hit-making machine with Face The Music, an album on which Jeff Lynne's producing chops first match his songwriting prowess -- fueled by songs such as the radio staple "Evil Woman" and dreamy ballad "Strange Magic." * * * 1/2
- Eric Deggans, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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