I don’t know why, but this happens to be one of my favorite records of all-time. Therefor it receives five stars, although a more objective vision should rate it with four. “On the third day” is where Jeff Lynne his songwriting took off. It is a raw, distinctive rather progressive symfo-rock album. It’s the last record where Jeff Lynne worked with overdubs by the cellists and violinist, before going using a full orchestra on the next record “Eldorado”. The use of overdubs creates a less smoothers sound like on ‘A new world record’ or ‘Out of the blue’.
“On the third day” can be divided in two parts: first half is a suite of four songs. The arrangements are already good and the switch from one song to the other goes very well. Before you know you are already halfway the record. ‘Bluebird is dead’ is a strong composition, because it is Jeff Lynne’s symfo-rock in his most bluesy style. The symfo-funky ‘Showdown’ is the turn into the heavier rock section. ‘Ma-ma-ma Belle’, it is symfo-ROCK: a blasting guitar, an angry and loud voice, full drums and the three-piece-orchestra crossing the song. ‘Dreaming of 4000’, it is one of Lynne his best: it is a small epic tale, changing in speed, style and character a few times within its five minutes. At the end of the song you have raised your eyebrows, thinking ‘this is pretty good!’.
“On the third day” is ELO in its most powerful rock condition. Those who adore the sound of the ELO success in the middle and the end of the seventies probably like the record a little bit less. But it is THE album that makes me wonder how it will sound if it is going to be re-recorded with a full orchestra.