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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid
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...
Published on 21 Feb 2005 by John Heaton

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2 of 2 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 3 months ago by Neil Frost


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovering Discovery, 27 April 2014
By 
Neil Frost (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
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 reached a position in their careers where they could basically follow whatever path they wished.

They could have, for example, produced an Out of the Blue Pt. II. The press would no doubt have negatively criticised them for producing an album that sounded just like the last one.

They could have created a totally new sound, in which case they would have been accused of not sounding like they had in the past.

In short, any move they made would have left them open to attack by the media and the fans.

As it was, songwriter, producer, lead-guitarist and lead-vocalist Jeff Lynne had mentioned in an interview with Melody Maker in May 1978, that he felt like doing "something strange." He had apparently been working on some weird chord sequences. Whether he was talked out of this at gun-point, or he himself thought better of it is not known. But one year later, "Shine a Little Love", the lead single from the then new ELO album "Discovery" was released. It hinted that, far from producing "Out of the Blue Pt II", the band had opted for their own version of then current musical trend: disco. Indeed the song owed more to the vocal harmonies of The Bee Gees rather than Jeff Lynne's first love The Beatles. This was hardly an exciting prospect, considering the likes of Chic, Sister Sledge and even Blondie, the darlings of the New York punk scene, were perfectly capable of producing such music. But ELO? Granted, it at least allowed ELO to sound not too much out of place in the charts in 1979, but many fans buying Discovery, having placed their trust in ELO's music based on the quality of material on it's predecessor, had to admit that it was all rather a disappointment. Even the ballads that off-set the disco-beat were not up to the standard of, say, One Summer Dream or Steppin' Out. ELO would at least redeem the situation two years later with the release of Time, an album that respectably redefined their sound whilst setting them on course for the 1980's.

I write this review realising that Discovery, although not one of ELO's greatest albums, is certainly not the stinker it's sometimes made out to be.

The second track Confusion is my first favourite, with it's wonderful lyrics of "Dark is the road you wonder", Kelly Groucutt's background booming "confusion" and Bev Bevan's reggae-style rim shots. I love Jeff's description of the song in his sleevenotes for the Flashback compilation: "There was this keyboard called the CS-80. It's the main keyboard sound on the record. Unfortunately, the thing weighed about 2,000 pounds. It was a great machine but a roadie's nightmare."

The first ballad is next in the form of Need Her Love. Apparently written for Jeff Lynne's then wife Sandi, the song is rather soppy as far as it goes. It is one of the few songs not to be included on an ELO compilation (of which there are many) and (to my knowledge) has never been played live. However, I find it's bookended by firstly a wonderful effect that sounds like the ELO spaceship landing, plus a pleasant guitar solo and at the end by the pizzicato strings that accompany the song's fade-out.

In the good old days of vinyl, The Diary of Horace Wimp closed side one of the album. A track that sounds rather out of place alongside what the listener has just heard. I gather it holds the odd accolade of Jeff having the idea for the lyric before the music was written, as he wanted to write a song based on someone's diary. It is rather light-weight in content and yet is not without a certain charm.

Probably the most successful of the disco-inspired songs opens side two as we take the Last Train to London. Here, the beat is right, the groove is snappy and the lyrics aren't too embarrassing. They refer directly to Jeff's experiences early in his career of travelling by rail from Birmingham to London to the recording studios. Like Sweet Talkin' Woman before it, Jeff in his role of producer doesn't simply reach for the fade-out knob at the end, but stops the music to allow keyboards and drums to reprise the songs opening chords, before riding off into the distance. Wonderful stuff.

Midnight Blue is for me the weakest ballad on the album. Lyrically it goes nowhere and the music offers nothing spectacular, but is saved by some nice piano work in the opening verse.

My feet start tapping again to the sound of On the Run. With it's "d-d-d-don't wanna lose it" line, it's pretty much in the disco category, save for the slowed down refrain.

Wishing opens with what once again could be taken to be an audio representation of the ELO spaceship landing, before a nice keyboard refrain starts the main song. Though there is a great piano solo at the bridge, I find it only slightly better than Midnight Blue.

If the listener had been put into a trance by the previous reverie, then the stomping drums of Don't Bring Me Down would certainly wake them up. This stripped-down song (the very first ELO song at this point not to feature any strings, a factor that would have far-reaching consequences) actually offers so much musically and lyrically. The incessant drum-loop, apparently lifted from another Discovery track, provides a rock solid beat on which rests Jeff Lynne's crashing guitar, Kelly Groucutt's thumping bass and the boogie-woogie piano work of Richard Tandy. The lyrics offer some great images: "you let your mind out somewhere down the road", "you're lookin' good just like a snake in the grass". It's chorus ( a rewrite of the traditional don't put me down) features the seemingly nonsense word "grroosss" which, as native-speaking engineer Mack pointed out to the band, is German for "greeting". But I hand the word back to Jeff as to how the song came together: "..... I overdubbed eight grand pianos, a cement mixer and two crates of Newcastle Brown Ale and that got the ball rolling".

The song provided ELO with a new encore for their live shows and an encore that, unlike Roll Over Beethoven, was one of their own. I had the great fortune of attending Birmingham Heartbeat 86 and one of it's highlights was their return to the stage and Bev Bevan kick-starting a drum solo that led into Don't Bring Me Down (available on Youtube for the curious).

Although the content of Discovery did not match or succeed that of Out of the Blue, it's packaging was a wonderful concept, full of eastern promise. The ELO logo, having started out as an emblem dominating the New York skyline in 1976, turned into a spaceship high above the Earth and now, in an artistic masterstroke, was transformed into a glowing medallion, reflecting light into the face of it's beholder, an Aladdin-type character, who had seemingly removed it from a treasure trove. The meaning? Well, ELO were certainly a rich treasure at this stage of their careers. With the Arabian-style lettering and persian carpet trim to the cover, Discovery was as equally eye-catching and thus just as marketable as Out of the Blue.

The inside of the gatefold sleeve showed the Aladdin character fleeing across a desert, pursued by scimitar-wielding guards. The album credits were ELO's shortest in five years - no technical specifications about equipment and amplification used by the band, but just a list of the four core members (minus the string section), a special thanks to Mack the engineer and of course the Ardens, the management.

The inner sleeve featured portraits of the four members at work in the Musicland Studios in Munich. The reverse contained the lyrics plus a photo of ELO in concert on the famous spaceship stage. Unfortunately, this was the nearest fans would get to seeing ELO live in 1979, as Jeff Lynne vetoed any tour to promote Discovery, allowing it to sell purely on the strength of radio airplay and the minimum of promotion. The initial effect of this policy was quite positive: 5 days after the album's release it hit the No. 1 spot in ELO's home country (the first time one of their albums had done so) and the singles released in the coming months all reached respectable positions in the charts around the world. However, the long term effects would be more damaging. Jeff Lynne had apparently turned down the offer of ELO headlining the Knebworth Festival in Hertfordshire, leaving the stage free for Led Zeppelin to perform their first UK shows in four years in August 1979.

Instead, ELO filmed a promotional vidio (quite revolutionary at the time) to accompany each song on Discovery, thus saving them the hastle of any live shows and promotional appearances, even on Top of the Pops. They also sent a hot air balloon around the UK as a gimmick in place of the band. It was around the time of Discovery's release that question marks hung over who was and who was not in ELO. The album's credits featured only four of the regulars, yet the promtional photos and videos featured the seven piece line-up. Two years later, the services of the string section - contributors to ELO's special sound - would be dispensed with forever: only violin player Mik Kaminski would be hired for any live shows.

To sum up, although Discovery at the time was not quite what the fans expected, 35 years later I find Confusion, Last Train to London and Don't Bring Me Down excellent ELO. Advice: go and rediscover Discovery.
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16 of 18 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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4 of 4 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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 'go-to' comfort music, 27 April 2013
By 
S. Ambrose "la_femme_gentil" (Southampton, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never out dates,,,,,, 5 July 2013
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
So talented and beautifuly put together,never get bored of e.l.o.I have listened to them for 37yrs and hope i have another 37yrs to keep listening to them.
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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
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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 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars superb sound quality, 1 April 2003
By 
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars discovery, 22 May 2003
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
I first bought this in 79 or 80,I loved it then and I love it know.The new enhanced version is even better .Tracks are varied but with that classic elo sound to them.Not my favourite album but pretty close.Try it,the elo sound will grip you.
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Discovery by E.L.O. (Audio CD - 2001)
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