Q (Summer/01, p.120) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Feels like the ELO obituary it was..."
Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer, bass, percussion); Richard Tandy (harmonica, piano, synthesizer); Kelly Groucutt (bass, background vocals); Bev Bevan (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Mik Kaminski (violin); Dave Morgan (background vocals).
Producer: Jeff Lynne.
Reissue producerds: Jeff Lynne, Al Quaglieri.
Recorded at Wisselord Studios, Hilversum, Holland.
Includes liner notes by Jeff Lynne.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
In the early '80s, another wave of backward-masking hysteria hit the national scene, with unfounded claims that popular rock bands intentionally hid Satanic messages in their records. ELO had already been hit with this rumor for a song on their album ELDORADO, and on the following album's "Fire on High," Jeff Lynne deliberately placed an obvious backwards message. Because the initial prank worked so well, Lynne did not only did it again in this album's opening--the message is simply the album's title--but named the album in honor of the hysteria. SECRET MESSAGES proves that Lynne's artistic vision, like his sense of humor, was undimmed. Tracks like the psychedelically tinged "Loser Gone Wild" and the delicate "Bluebird" are as strong as anything he'd previously done, and the rockabillyish "Rock and Roll Is King" even pays tribute to the '50s-influenced style of his former bandmate Roy Wood.