Jeff Lynne's ELO – Alone In The Universe

CREATIVELY, ELO BECAME a one-man band with Roy Wood's departure in 1972, but now it’s a literal fact: on top of writing and producing all 10 songs, Jeff Lynne plays every instrument. Jeff Lynne embraces the future. Photo by Rob Shanahan

The only other voice is his daughter Laura’s. Modest arrangements reflect this DIY ethos, with ELO's signature symphonic indulgence compressed into succinct three-minute distillations of Lynne's eternal virtues: cake layer harmonies, euphoric chord progressions, plus the occasional threehanky lyric amid lashings of cheesy choogle (Ain’t It A Drag), strawberry field pop confectionery (Dirty To The Bone) and heart-pulping schmaltz (All My Life).

“It gets so sad in the unknown,” Jeff trembles amid a title track which bookends the album with When I Was A Boy in his quintessential shades of blue. Long damned by faint praise for unselfconscious fealty to his heroes, the definitive elements of this bijou gem are the author’s own.

Watch the deeply cosmic video for When I Was A Boy.