One man's fond nostalgia is another man's insufferable sentimentality.
For his first solo album in 22 years, former ELO head honcho Jeff Lynne has revisited a selection of standards he first heard on his dad's radio in Birmingham back in the 1950s. To these ears, however, this self-indulgent exercise is nothing more than millionaire's karaoke.
Lynne dips into the classic American songbook for Rodgers and Hart's Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered, shifts up a gear to rock'n'roll with Chuck Berry's Let It Rock, and sinks into a vat of cheese with Charlie Chaplin's Smile. If in doubt, his motto seems to say, dub, dub and overdub again, until multi-layered vocals and guitars give each song an instantly recognisable (but surely outdated) production makeover.
Loading article content
The problem is that everything here – whether it's Charles Aznavour with She or Etta James with At Last – was originally done by someone with a better or more distinctive voice than Lynne's. Nothing is improved, only redone. And surely a fellow Traveling Wilbury should know better than to replace Roy Orbison's haunting vocal on Running Scared with his own?