Music

ALBUM REVIEW | POP

Jeff Lynne’s ELO, ‘Alone in the Universe’

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For the past 30 years, Jeff Lynne probably has been best known as a collaborator of choice for the likes of Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, and the late George Harrison, and for his merry band the Traveling Wilburys. Now, after a nearly 15-year hiatus, the British pop visionary reclaims the band name that originally brought him to prominence. As the moniker makes clear, this is practically a one-man-band affair, yet there’s no dearth of signature ELO hallmarks. Lynne remains the ultimate Beatlemaniac, and this 12-track collection is overflowing with lovely, memorable melodies, rich harmonies, and textured production techniques that call to mind classic hits like “Livin’ Thing” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Few of the new tracks reach that level of greatness, and flimsy lyrics mar a couple. But several worm their way into the ear endearingly, including the nostalgic opener “When I Was a Boy” (Lynne reflecting on the radio that kept him company as a child), the woozy “The Sun Will Shine on You,” and the winsome, pillowy paean to true love, “All My Life.”

SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “All My Life”