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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disco? Very.
1979 was the year when Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra embraced the smooth, slick sounds of disco that dominated the charts at the time, making one of the most noticeable changes of direction they'd embarked on for a while. Although commercially successful (it stayed at number one in the album charts for five weeks), a large proportion of ELO fans were rather...
Published 9 months ago by Andy Sweeney

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovering Discovery
My review is of the orginal album, as I have not heard the extra tracks included on the remastered reissue in 2001.

Following on from the 4 million+ sales of the double album Out of the Blue, with it's string of hit singles, eye-catching artwork and massive world tour, ELO were faced with the task of following it up. At the beginning of 1979, the band had...
Published 14 months ago by Neil Frost


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disco? Very., 2 Oct. 2014
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
1979 was the year when Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra embraced the smooth, slick sounds of disco that dominated the charts at the time, making one of the most noticeable changes of direction they'd embarked on for a while. Although commercially successful (it stayed at number one in the album charts for five weeks), a large proportion of ELO fans were rather unimpressed by Jeff's follow-up to the magnificent "Out Of The Blue" and, to many, was a step in the wrong direction. The fact that violinist Mik Kaminski and cellists Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale do not appear on the album (and were subsequently dismissed for being surplus to requirements after the promo videos for the album were made) is indicative that Lynne wanted to dramatically change things. Still, in terms of sales and popularity, Lynne's band were still riding high and the collection of radio-friendly pop songs, "Discovery", contains many tracks that would be considered stalwarts of ELO greatest hits compilations. Whether you believe that this album measures up to any of the band's other albums made during their most commercially successful era is simply a matter of taste.

The stomping disco vibes of "Shine A Little Love" provide a classy start to the album and the joyful, uplifting "Confusion", resplendent with dramatic kettle drum fills, is one of the instant highlights. The longing, tender "Need Her Love" is a rather lovely song, although I'm really not sure about the wince-inducing line "she tries to sing", and "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" is a flamboyant slice of excellent songwriting, arguably marred by the rather excessive Vocoder use, that boasts a beautifully Beatlesque ending. "Last Train To London" is a superb song with both an irresistible bassline and an infectious chorus and is probably Jeff's best disco-inspired composition. "Midnight Blue" is utterly gorgeous, although I'd have much preferred it with the kind of instrumentation and arrangement it would have received on, for example, "A New World Record", rather than being so synthesiser-heavy. The high energy "On The Run", with its bouncy, catchy melody could easily have been a single whereas "Wishing", a perfectly likeable but ordinary offering, is probably the only track which really couldn't have been. The album finishes with the monster hit, "Don't Bring Me Down", a bass-heavy track with a thumping beat and memorable chorus. From a compositional point of view, it's a simplistic, rather formulaic track, but Jeff proves once again his knack of transforming it into something that sounds so much more accomplished.

"Discovery" leaves me conflicted more than any other album in the Electric Light Orchestra catalogue. Conflicted because, although I really like and enjoy every song on the record and there are some undeniably brilliant tracks, there's something about the whole project that doesn't quite match up to much of Jeff's previous work. It is a hugely commercial collection of songs and nearly every song a potential single, but if you compare it with the most ambitious and grandiose moments of "Out Of The Blue", the polished pop sheen of "Discovery" with the contemporary soul/disco influences Jeff incorporated into the style of the music feels a little superficial, in comparison. It is, therefore, almost annoying that the songs are this good; it's very difficult to seriously criticise a meticulously crafted, thoroughly enjoyable album where over half of the tracks were hit singles. Regardless of the obviously quality and commercial appeal of "Discovery", it remains one of the very few ELO albums I hardly listen to. If I'm completely honest, as an entire album it leaves me a little cold and even the most emotionally engaging songs on the album ("Confusion", "Need Her Love", "Midnight Blue") struggle to touch the heartstrings through the synthesisers and pop sheen. Although this is an exceedingly listenable record, this really isn't the Electric Light Orchestra I fell in love with and, as catchy as much of this material is, it will never be one of my favourite ELO releases. A great cover of Del Shannon's "Little Town Flirt" as a bonus track on the 2001 remastered version sweetens the deal a little, however.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 'go-to' comfort music, 27 April 2013
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
Electric Light Orchestra were part of my young womanhood. Together withwith the 'Out of the Blue' album, it was required listening at home and on holiday, in the car and on long journeys throughout Europe, and I rediscovered both albums re-released on CD some years ago and bought them again then with relish. Returning from living in a foreign country for some years, several years ago, 'Discovery' was misplaced. This was unthinkable and I have just bought a new copy. Listening to the whole album is to be instantly transported down the years to my lost youth, and yet, to my ears, the music sounds as good as any anything anybody produces today. Favourite tracks are the poignant 'Need Her Love' and 'Midnight Blue', but who could not be cheered by 'The Diary of Horace Wimp or 'Don't Bring Me Down'.
Several niggles. My copy came with the artwork paper reversed so that the album appeared to possibly be ELO in concert and had me dithering over whether to return the CD for exchange, when it was simply a matter of reversing the leaflet, and also the addition of the demos of 'On the Run' and 'Second Time Around' and also 'Little Town Flirt' which were certainly not included on the original vinyl and add nothing to what is otherwise an absolutely fab album.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, 21 Feb. 2005
By 
John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
The follow up to 'Out Of The Blue'. Expectations were High. And I was not disappointed at the time. Although for example the opening track 'Shine A Little Love' is rather too disco-ish and let's face it...ordinary (by their standards)... to rank as an ELO classic, the rest of of the album contains so many highlights that simply delighted at the time, and equally so 35 years later. 'Confusion' is just perfect in its McCartneyesque melody, 'Need Her Love' is up there with the great ELO ballads, the melody again seemingly made in Heaven. 'Horace Wimp' is Beatlesque for sure but rather too manufactured for my liking. Even a tad annoying if I'm honest. 'Last Train To London' is a disco single yes, but a great one. Play this one Loud. 'Midnight Blue' is even better than 'Need her Love'. Beautiful. 'On The Run' is an upbeat, utterly infectious ELO song. 'Wishing' is good but not great. The closing number 'Don't Bring Me Down' is absolutely brilliant and when played loud is about the best rocker they ever recorded.
So a bit of a mixed bag here as they struggled to follow up their masterpiece 'Out of the Blue' from the previous year. And before they returned with the timeless album 'Time' (Ha Ha) in 1981 which may be their best record of all.
From most bands, an album of this quality would probably prompt multiple cartwheels in the corridor. And there is a lot of very fine stuff here. It's just that when you're a band as talented as the Electric Light Orchestra, you set standards pretty high. And the facts are that this album is inferior to the previous two 'A New World Record' (1976) and 'Out Of The Blue (1978) and to the next one 'Time' (1981).
But that shouldn't detract from the highlights here, which are as timeless as anything they ever did. Jeff Lynne, between 1976 and 1981 very rarely put a foot wrong. This album may have displayed a minor dip in quality but this was hardly noticaeble at the time and contained enough golden eggs to keep the ELO flame alive. They were on this album still a Mightily Talented Band.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Album, 11 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Discovery (MP3 Download)
With Four top 10 hits (Five if you remember that Confusion and Last Train To London was a double A side) This album really is a delve into what ELO were best at, writing and producing instantly sing-a-long pop songs. Add to that tracks as good as "Need Her Love" and my personal favourite "On The Run" and this album becomes a must if you want to discover how good Jeff Lynne and his band were back in their heyday of the late seventies and early eighties.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELO., 28 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
As with all music we all have our personal preferences. This has always been my favorite ELO piece. Open the windows and play at full volume. Its rock meets trance. Chuck the gangnam in the bin and let your kids listern to some real music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Commercial but Still a Masterpiece, 6 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
As has been commented by other reviewers, this was probably, for many ELO fans, a step in the wrong direction, especially after such an excellent work as Out of the Blue. For instance, there are no tracks running into each other and although the strings are present, the choral side, save towards the end of The Diary of Horace Whimp, which sounds like a Welch male voice choir, doesn't appear. However, although they had gone more commercial with this album, it was the second of their albums I got and for anyone reading these reviews who has only had experience of their hits, I would suggest that you start your collection with this. I personally like the sound effects before Shine a Little Love comes crashing in, then you've got Confusion which is one of the tracks I just have to turn up. Need Her Love and Midnight Blue are two of my favourite album tracks (I've never liked On The Run) and although The Diary of Horace Whimp was the second single to be released, I think they should have left that as an album track, releasing Confusion and Last Train to London as separate singles. Don't Bring Me Down is also a real rocker which has to be turned up to enjoy. It was thanks to the girl I was going out with at the time that I got into ELO's albums and, although not herself a collector of their material, she did have the album, Time, on vinyl and Discovery on tape and as I wasn't sure whether or not to get this album, she bought it for me and I still have it in its gate fold sleeve (it sounds just as good as the day I received it when I play it on my present turntable).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovery by E.L.O, 5 Nov. 2010
By 
Mrs. Valerie M. Stephens "Val" (Kettering Northants.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
I love this albumn, I bought the L.P years ago and decided I would buy the c.d so I could play it in the car. Usually on a Albumn there are one or two that you are not so keen on, but I love them all.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ELO go very DISCO, 25 July 2005
By 
S. C. Trump "stevect" (Upminster, Essex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
ELO were at the height of their commercial fame when this album was released in 1979. It's been dubbed 'DISCO very' and does indeed live up to that tag with many of it's tracks veering towards that genre.
First up is 'Shine a little love' which was released as a single ahead of the albums release. Slightly longer than the single cut with a bit of quiet instrumental doodling at the start it gets us off to a rousing , bouncy overture to the album. Everyone would recognise vintage ELO from this sound, and hook after catchy hook abounds.
'Confusion' follows next and it's a little more pedestrian in tempo but formed a great double A side release with 'Last train to London'. It's one of my favourite tracks on the album.
The next track which is the longest is the beautiful ballad 'Need her love' and is for me the top track on the album. Lovely harmonies and instrumentation.
'The Diary of Horace Wimp' is an ELO track where opinion is divided. Some hate its sanitised storyline whilst others consider it a light hearted gem. Jeff Lynne later explained that the lack of 'Saturday' in the Diary is because Saturday is always football day.
'Last Train to London' is the 'Off the wall' sounding other half of the double A side of the aforementioned 'Confusion'. Jeff Lynne obviously liked trains as they often popped up in ELO songs and this song is an absolute delight and so easy on the ears.
Next up another beautiful ballad, 'Midnight Blue'. Blue being another of Jeff Lynnes much written about themes. This song is a great album track which was relegated to the b-side of the later single 'All around the World'.
'On the run' is not the same track as on Pink Floyds 'Dark side of the Moon' but instead forms for me the weakest track on this album. A rather unusual intro takes us into some standard ELO fodder.
The penultimate track of the original album 'Wishing' is slower in tempo bookended by an atmospheric intro and outro on the keyboards. This track too was only considered worthy of putting on a b-side; this time of the flop single 'The way life's meant to be'.
The albums tour-de-force closes off with 'Don't bring me down' which surely everyone must have heard and tapped their foot to. It had to be a hit, it was a hit and summed up the whole Disco feel of this album. By the way, a 12" single appeared for this release but the track sadly was not remixed in any way which I feel was a lost opportunity.
This release contains 3 bonus tracks....well one bonus and a couple of doodles actually. 'On the run' and 'Second time around' are both early demos in very brief snatches of less than a minute each. Much more worthwhile is Jeffs tribute to one of his musical heroes Del Shannon with ELOs version of the classic 'Little town flirt'. A nice unreleased edition. There were no non-album b-sides that accompanied the single releases from Discovery hence none appearing here unlike the rereleases of 'Time' and 'Secret Messages'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Discovery, 4 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
I was a huge fan of ELO when I first brought this album on cassette when it was originally issued in 1979. At the time I remember how different it sounded compared to albums such as A New World Record, Face The Music and the previous double album Out Of The Blue.
I was not a fan of the disco/dance music of the 1970s and still today I don't like modern dance music.
This album was influenced from the disco boom of the late 1970s. Saturday Night Fever, The Bee Gees etc was all the rave.
Discovery is a huge change in direction from the Symphonic, more progressive music that ELO had successfully produced over the decade. I can remember liking the song Don't Bring Me Down with its rock beats with a hint of dance music.
There is a consistency of good songs on the album such as Confusion & Last Train To London. It's more of a pop album than anything produced before by ELO.
Discovery is the last album I brought by ELO, their future musical direction was not what I was interested in by the 1980s.
There is a DVD available of this album that has clips accompanying the songs of the album. Worth checking out, Wembley.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars superb sound quality, 1 April 2003
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
Discovery has long divided ELO fans. Many felt a disco album was a sell out, others liked it for what it was - a break from the epic ELO style. After Out of the Blue ELO had nowhere to go and arguably should have been disbanded the concept of a rock band with strings having been well and truly exhausted. Commercially Discovery was ELOs greatest success but managed along with Xanadu to undermine the band's cred with rock critics who appear to prefer tuneless guitar bands. I would have given this album five stars but for two truly dreary songs Need Her Love and Wishing. The rest is superb. The sound quality of this reissue makes it a must, especially for the bass lines on Last Train to London. This album has dated very well - for those who like some retro disco but find the Bee Gees nauseating this is just the ticket.
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Discovery by E.L.O. (Audio CD - 2001)
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