The Electric Light Orchestra without Jeff Lynne likens unto a day without sunshine. But this even-more anonymous ensemble injects so much calculated charisma into the pop corn here that all is forgiven. Behind these replicated string flourishes and fey-Beatlisms remains sturdy songcraft. Getting past the fact that this disc spouts third-generation fluff, and depending on how you take to mimicry or cover bands, "Honest Men," "Every Night" and "Heart of Hearts" imitate the band's glory daze to the point of enjoyability. Out of the blue, ELO II even takes a crack at "Kiss Me Red," a roguish non-hit composed by the authors of "Like a Virgin" that Cheap Trick attempted on the wire-crossing Doctor. One knows what to expect from this bubble-gum machine: not "Sweet Talking Woman" nor "Confusion" or "Twilight," but a decent fabrication of a begone fab era. And while lynchpin Lynne pursues other endeavors, any party ever intrigued by the Electric Light Orchestra will find something to enjoy by letting this saucer land on the turntable.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC