It's 1970. Enter Jeff Lynne. And begin The Move's attempt to get in sync with the new decade. LOOKING ON is heavy and dense and resembles neither The Move which preceeded it nor that which came after. This is basically hard rock with a few eccentric moments like Roy Wood inserting bellicose cello and oboe for no other reason than he can. Those diversions do provide some welcome respite from the otherwise heavy-handed progression of the album. Some reviewers have likened Roy Wood's 'rock' voice to that of Ozzy Osborne. I can't say I disagree. Lynne contributed two tracks; the first, 'What' contains both Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra likenesses but in a crude, rudimentary fashion. The second 'Open Up Said the World' is a mess with Bee Gee-like disco vocals, boogie woogie piano rolls, oboes and time signature changes all competing against one another. To make matters worse a Bev Bevan 'trash can' drum solo interrupts the piece four minutes in, only to give way to a tedious 3 minute fade which does little to wrap up the song. Interesting, yes but not easy on the ear.
'Brontosaurus' as a single? I'm surprised that plodding dinosaur did as well in the UK as it did. It was non-existent in the US market. The song didn't get interesting until the slide guitar/piano outro kicked in.
There are many CD issues of this album and each seems to include different bonus tracks. My 1993 Repertoire (4281-WY) edition includes pop songs from another time and place like 'Blackberry Way,' 'Something,' 'Curly' and 'This Time Tomorrow'. They are laughably out of place on LOOKING ON.
The Move was always intriguing but never settled on a sound. LOOKING ON was a drastic departure from their previous '60s pop and psychedelic rock but was short lived as MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY (1971) borrowed elements from all phases of their career. MESSAGE showcased two songwriters with many similarities and shared goals but whom often didn't appear to be on the same page, thus yielding a batch of eccentric rock songs lacking the continuity of a well-crafted album.
I still listen to this album periodically, more as an historical curiosity than a pleasurable listen.Read more ›