9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Timeless eighties gem remastered,
This review is from: Earthrise (Audio CD)
Every so often, a brilliant album is condemned to oblivion by blunder upon blunder in marketing. Such has been the fate of the 1985 concept album "Earth rise" by Richard Tandy and Dave Morgan; the former being the keyboardist of the Electric Light Orchestra, and the latter a fellow Brummie who's been in and out of Birmingham bands such as the The Move and E.L.O (from 1981 to 1986).
In the early eighties, a musical period when concept rock albums where out-of-fashion and "not done", Tandy and Morgan constructed a timeless gem out of a bunch of demos by singer-songwriter Dave Morgan. The "Earth rise" story is about an intergalactic space traveller, who, in the emptiness of the Galaxy, is longing to return to his one love on Earth; in the end, he realises that true love has always been present within himself ("The secret was always inside"). Apart from the science fiction form, the content is really about universal questions, and both the compositions and the lyrics are impressively haunting: "Feeling so lonely / Feeling so blue / Feeling so empty / Like all this distance between me and you", and "Travelling one thousand worlds, searching for only one..." Who hasn't done this one way or another in his/her lifetime?
The album easily matches E.L.O.'s 1981 "Time" album in inspiration and flow, and, Richard Tandy being a prominent player on both albums, share several similarities. If you like E.L.O.'s "Time", you're going to love "Earth Rise". And yet, Earth Rise has an originality and energy of its own that prevents it from being labeled a "Time imitation".
The album was released in 1985 on vinyl and cassette, but for all kinds of reasons, marketing was totally absent. The album got no airplay at all, which, as we all know, is deadly for commercial success. Given the proper airplay, tracks like "Spaceship Earth", "Zero zero" and "Pictures in my pillow" could easily have been massive hits, given the combination of commercial sound production and emotional impact.
As a minor point of this release, I found that the track order has been changed, which means the story just doesn't seem to flow as logically as it did on the original release. Moreover, both "Zero zero" and "Pictures on my pillow" have now been 'relegated' to the end of the disc, as a sort of 'bonus tracks'. While they may not fit into the concept story lyrically, I feel that on the original release they came at exactly the right spot. Also, two left-over tracks have now been inserted at various points without really adding anything significant. But hey, track order is easily rearranged when playing the CD, and, most important of all, the tracks are still the original recordings, not re-workings.
A final minor point is the cover art, which I feel is way inferior to the original cassette album art. On the other hand, the lyrics have now been included in the booklet, which is nice, given the importance of the storyline.
All in all, I'm glad that this timeless concept album has been given another chance on the market, and I'm sure many E.L.O. fans will spend many a blissful hour on re-listening this collaborative, extremely musical sytnth-rock-album. Let's release "Spaceship Earth" as a single after all - but who's going to organize the airplay this time?