Ok we have seen it before. People pay homage to someone, or just rip them off, and the results are never as good as the original. Here though all concerned give a very good account of themselves. My favourite tracks are 'Goodbye Innocence' , the 'Ol' College Try' and 'Nothin Will Ever Change', the latter doing a fine job of showing that although ELO had strong Beatles influence, they developed the sound into their own. The only weak track for me is the last one but in an otherwise strong suit. It could have been a bit longer, the album is actually not much longer than half an hour (the short 'Don't Bring Me Down' homage being at the end of a long silence segue). The overall effect though is a fine addition to the Jeff Lynne legacy. He may be a quiet man, like George Harrison, but Jeff Lynne's influence will live long into the future, just like the past masters he has produced and been paid tribute by himself.
When I first heard this album, I was a little taken aback - stunned even. I wasn't at all sure about how I felt about it - whether I loved it, hated it, whether it was a wonderful tribute or an insult. What exactly is it about this album that stirred up such strong and conflicting emotions? Well, L.E.O. have pretty much tried their best to make an E.L.O. album, replicating production, songwriting, vocal & harmony styles of the one and only Jeff Lynne. The great thing about this album is that, on the vast majority of this album, they've succeeded to a brilliant extent.
L.E.O. is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Bleu (a Boston-based musician), but also features contributions from Matt Mahaffey, Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola, Hanson (yes, they of 'MmmBop' fame) and members of Chicago. Together they have produced some of the most incredible Jeff Lynne songs that Jeff Lynne never wrote. The dreamy 'Goodbye Innocence' has a 'Free As A Bird' feel to it, 'Nothin' Will Ever Change' sounds like an Out Of The Blue-era Jeff Lynne Beatlesque masterpiece and 'Distracted' could easily have been a standout song on Jeff's solo album 'Armchair Theatre'. These three songs are the best on the album and work because they are simply wonderful tracks in their own right and sound like new Jeff Lynne songs rather than songs Jeff has already written.
More problematic and less easy to enjoy are song which are heavily influenced by E.L.O. songs to such an extent that they actually sound like the song they've borrowed from and that's when this album crosses the line between tribute and parody. 'Ya Had Me Goin'' for example is 'Evil Woman', right down to the guitar riff and the bassline. Yes, it's very enjoyable, but it's still slightly uncomfortable to hear and difficult to respect, despite it's obvious cleverness. Similarly, 'Make Me' takes key elements from 'Do Ya' and 'Don't Let It Go' bears more than a passing similarity to both 'Shine A Little Love' and 'Don't Bring Me Down'. The only song which really doesn't sound much like being a song by either Jeff or E.L.O. is 'The Ol' College Try', which is a pretty decent, melodic song, even if I didn't really care for the lyrics or female vocals.
Even given my reservations about some factors of this project, I have to admit that it's largely brilliant and that fans of E.L.O. and Jeff Lynne will definitely get a huge kick from 'Alpacas Orgling', but it is a similar experience to meeting a person who looks exactly like someone you know, but isn't them. Trust me, it's worth meeting them anyway.
I was bought this as a present, by a friend who knows I am a closet ELO fan.
This album is the brainchild of Andy Sturmer who used to be one of the driving forces behind 'Jellyfish' - themselves a much underrated pop band.
To say it is an unashamed homage to Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra would be an understatement... close your eyes and ELO never split... you're transported back to the days of 'A New World Record', 'Out of the Blue' and 'Discovery'. The string arrangements are perfect, the synth programmes are spot on, and the whole feel is just right. Although the inclusion of a female vocal (Paula Kelly) on 'The Old College Try' while initially a shock (I don't recall a female vocal on ELO except on 'Rockaria'), actually works.
If you're an ELO fan, buy this today. You won't be disappointed.
By accident heard a LEO track on the radio recently and had to buy the album. Alpacas Orgling quite simply is the best ELO album Jeff Lynne never made. As a life long ELO fan, I have no qualms about saying it's better than any thing Mr Lynne has done since Arm Chair Theatre, along with a lot of the material on Balance of Power. Yes it's an album of blatant Jeff Lynne hook rip offs, but hand on my heart if JL had made this album it would have still got 5stars. By the guys in LEO putting their fanship and love of ELOs music in the forfront, they've made an album without any compromise of quality. In short, if you wished ELO made an another album this is for you. The style is between New World Record and Out of the Blue, exactly what most fans wish JL would still do, give them what they want MORE ELO.
What a great record! The best ELO record ELO never made. It's truly fantastic to hear Andy Sturmer singing three lines on this record. When, oh when, is Andy gonna get himself back into a studio and make another record as superb as his Jellyfish work?
I find it difficult to understand why this man is not ridiculously famous. He consistently churns out brilliant songs, the production and arrangements are stunning. I wish he would gig in the UK. Check out his other CD's under the name Bleu, absolute genius, even my kids think he's great. ...I have yet to convince the cat. .....
I'm a Jellyfish/Roger Joseph Manning/ELO/Jason Falkner/Dodgy fan. Worth the price just to hear Andy Sturmer's great voice for three lines in track one, which I feel is the strongest track of the album. I disagree with other reviewers that this is a rip-off of ELO. Sure, there are inspired similarities but many of the songs are individual power-pop in their own right. Most are well written and arranged, with strong ELO/powerpop inspiration, but Bleu's drumming lacks dynamics (all very hard and loud) which puts me off many of the songs. Having said that, I am so grateful that there are talented musicians out there, writing and recording power pop. Without music like this, we'd all start to go insane