Review by C.J. Bunce

The Traveling Wilburys had a Volume 1 and 3–two fantastic, memorable albums each with chart topping hits, and it was said Tom Petty’s successful and acclaimed Full Moon Fever fit between as a sort of unofficial Volume 2.  Jeff Lynne′s ELO′s eagerly-awaited next album is out, From Out of Nowhere, and it could be the unofficial Traveling Wilburys Volume 4–all the beats, all the instrumentation, tempo, and lyrics are there.  But this time it’s Jeff Lynne carrying the album, since we’re long past a time when Tom Petty, George Harrison, or Roy Orbison are around to contribute anything but in spirit.  The evocative sound makes sense, since Lynne worked with Harrison and Petty on other albums in addition to Lynne’s status in the rock god supergroup as Otis-Clayton Wilbury.  Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr. would be proud–you couldn’t ask for more from Lynne and ELO, the combination of songs on the new release is a mix of styles across the catalog of ELO songs and absorbs several of the band’s biggest influences and partnerships over the band’s 40-plus years.

All of the songs were written by Lynne, including the great romping roadhouse blast One More Time, which fits the Wilburys sound in songs like She’s My Baby (with a little cow bell and a little… Phantom of the Opera (!?) as a bonus).  The biggest hit here might be Time of Our Life, another chugging, Wilbury soundalike that would have fit perfectly with the back of the railcar videos from that band’s Volume 1 album.  The title song From Out of Nowhere begins the batch of Wilbury-esque songs–it’s like Tom Petty and George Harrison are singing back-up (they aren’t, of course, but this sounds like it could have been written for Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Into the Great Wide Open album, another project produced by Lynne).

It’s not just the Wilbury sound that comes through.  You’d swear Goin’ Out on Me is a cover of an old Beatles hit–Lynne conjures the sound of Paul McCartney’s trademark voice in this slow, bad-love ballad (Lynne worked on McCartney’s Grammy-nominated album Flaming Pie).  Or Help Yourself, a song made for George Harrison’s voice if there ever was one, which would have played nicely on Harrison’s Cloud Nine album (another album produced by Lynne).

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