LEO - Alpacas OrglingThe idea behind the L.E.O. sessions were simple – indie pop artist Bleu Macauley and friends, acquaintances and colleagues from across North America would combine their talents, often by long distance, to create a tribute to the style, if not necessarily specific songs, of Jeff Lynne and ELO. Aside from Blue, just a few of the artists involved include Andy Sturmer (formerly of Jellyfish), the Hanson brothers (yes, those Hanson brothers), and quite a few others who have cut their teeth on the indie-label power pop circuit. And right from the first full song, it’s clear that the L.E.O. collective is settling for nothing less than an homage to ELO’s glory years – the period stretching from Face The Music through Out Of The Blue.

If that’s the sound you’re looking for, it’s nicely approximated in such tracks as “Distracted,” “Sukaz Are Born Every Minute,” and “Goodbye Innocence.” Fans of ELO’s funkier, less lush numbers will like “Make Me” and espeically “Ya Had Me Goin'”, which kicks off with an intro strongly reminiscent of “Evil Woman.” Even Lynne’s post-ELO, retro-rockabilly solo style is represented in one of the better songs, “Private Line.” Most of the songs here are winners, though there’s a “bonus track” (not quite 2 minutes of music at the end of a mostly empty, half-hour-long track) that’s basically an abbreviated version of “Don’t Bring Me Down” that smacks more of being a spoof than an homage. The album’s just a little bit short (for the total running time below, I deleted the long empty 4 out of 4stretch of the bonus track so you can tell how much actual music there is), but there’s a great deal of promise here – enough to make me wonder if a follow-up is planned. This “group” – term loosely used – has successfully captured a style that’s not explored much these days, though the question is really whether or not enough people will take them up on the offer to make it worth the artists’ or the labels’ time. If you ever enjoyed the ELO sound, this album is definitely worth yours.

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  1. Overture (0:33)
  2. Goodbye Innocence (3:51)
  3. Ya Had Me Goin’ (3:10)
  4. Distracted (4:18)
  5. Make Me (3:00)
  6. The Ol’ College Try (3:43)
  7. Nothin’ Will Ever Change (4:12)
  8. Don’t Let It Go (3:24)
  9. Private Line (3:12)
  10. Sukaz Are Born Every Minute (4:18)
  11. Don’t Bring Me Down (1:55)

Released by: Cheap Lullaby Records
Release date: 2006
Total running time: 35:36