“Alone in the Universe” is being billed as the first album of all-new Electric Light Orchestra music in more than a decade. While it’s a terrific record, the 10-track platter from Jeff Lynne’s ELO is more a Lynne solo effort than anything else. That’s not a bad thing, considering the still youthful-looking 67-year-old always was the guiding creative force — producer, songwriter, arranger, lead singer and guitarist — behind the 1970s icons.
“Music is such a powerful force in our lives,” Lynne says. “A Good song can make people feel much less alone in this universe. And trying to create one of those songs somehow makes me feel less alone, too. My whole life — from being that kid with a dream in (England) right until today — proves how much music can do.”
There are a handful of excellent tracks on “Alone in the Universe,” including the dynamic one-two opening punch of “When I Was a Boy” and “Love and Rain.” Additional keepers include “When the Night Comes,” “The Sun Will Shine on You,” “I’m Leaving You” and the set-closing title track. There are no classic cuts on par with “Evil Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Strange Magic” or “Mr. Blue Sky” to be found here, but Lynne shows he still has plenty of creative fuel left in the tank. (Jeffrey Sisk)