Anyone looking for Jeff Lynne to push the envelope has got it wrong. Released at the same time as he covered himself – recreating the ELO hits – his album Long Wave sees him taking on a set of rock’n’roll and easy-listening pop standards; the songs that raised Lynne, the songs he learned as he was growing up, growing as a musician.
Jeff Lynne has always played the studio, his motive has been to create music as a result; the way a mechanic might claim to play the workshop and fix the car as a result. He’s an artist, yes; but a blue-collar artist. So Long Wave sees Lynne playing every instrument.
It’s workmanlike at time – other times it’s inspiring, really rather gorgeous. It has as much validity as a new Paul McCartney album; more even.
I’ve found myself returning to Long Wave over and over again – finding something really rather love in it; its slim running time (less than half an hour); its beautiful opening cover of She; it reminds me of a good Ringo Starr album; the kind we haven’t heard in 40 years, of a good George Harrison record; the kind we’ll never hear again, of those wonderful Travelling Wilburys albums; well, album.
You either like Jeff Lynne or you don’t. If you never have then you won’t like this. If you like him/ELO on any level then you’ll find some time in your life for Long Wave.