Entertainment Weekly (8/9/91) - "..a highly enjoyable record..." - Rating: B
Mojo (Publisher) (10/99, p.128) - "...[Jeff] Lynne opted to make the band more cod-orchestral and proto-prog, but it remained rough-arsed stuff, with rather dank and cramped arrangements....there's plenty of charm and exuberance in these 5 ambitious tracks..."
Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, Moog synthesizer); Richard Tandy (guitar, piano, Moog synthesizer); Wilf Gibson (violin); Mike Edwards, Colin Walker (cello); Mike Alberquerque (bass); Bev Bevan (drums).
Recorded at AIR Studios, London, England.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Electric Light Orchetra Part II: Pete Haycock (vocals, guitar, bass); Eric Troyer (vocals, keyboards); Neil Lockwood (vocals); Bev Bevan (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Mik Kaminski (violin).
Recorded at The Mill Studios, Cookham, England; Angel Studios, London, England; Rich Bitch Studios, Birmingham, England; Fanfare Studios, Golden, Colorado; Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.
Electric Light Orchestra: Bev Bevan, Mik Kaminski, Louis Clark, Kelly Groucutt, Eric Troyer, Phil Bates.
It's an often-forgotten fact that the Electric Light Orchestra was originally conceived as a side project. Following the orchestrated hard rock of the group's final two albums, LOOKING ON and MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY, the Move--Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan--decided to further explore this arena with a more classically oriented album under the pseudonym the Electric Light Orchestra. This album was a commercial flop and Wood left to form the more experimental Wizzard. Lynne and Bevan bagged the Move and made ELO their primary endeavor.
This is a transitional album not unlike the Move's LOOKING ON. Like that album, ELO II consists of five very lengthy tracks evenly roughly split between Lynne's Beatlesque pop-rock and classically inspired orchestral interludes, featuring a conceptually obvious cover of "Roll Over Beethoven." Lynne would combine the two more effectively in the future, but ELO II is an interesting stepping stone on that more commercially viable path.