|Good Music For Good People||
L.E.O. (Bleu) - Alpacas Orgling
So what IS L.E.O.? L.E.O. is a power-pop-collective that has become a Traveling Wilburys-esque creative outlet for a gang of like-minded musician/producers...it was originally conceived by Bleu and includes the diverse talents of Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola (The Candy Butchers), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), Matt Mahaffey (Self), John Fields (big-time pop-producer), Tony Goddess (pApAs fritAs), Hanson, Eric Barao (The Cautions), Scott Simons (The Argument), and Paula Kelley, among others.
Here`s the full run down on the project, folks. ENJOY!
Alpacas Orgling is an ingeniously arranged evocation of the orchestral pop-rock of the mid-seventies, a sound built for the eclectic AM-radio pop charts of the time, but also cool enough to resonate for years on the FM dial. It`s a style epitomized by the sweeping productions of the Electric Light Orchestra, which created a technologically enhanced wall of sound as grand and wonderful as Phil Spector`s "teenage symphonies" of the mid-sixties. This is no mere homage to an earlier era, however, simply compiling familiar songs from back in the day. Rather, all of these lush, vocal-stacked and hook-packed tunes are originals, composed by a collective of pop-obsessed, genre-jumping contemporary musicians.
Among the collaborators assembled here as L.E.O. are vocalist Andy Sturmer, from nineties power pop-icon Jellyfish; singer-guitarist Mike Viola, formerly of the Candy Butchers and co-writer of the Oscar-nominated movie theme "That Thing You Do!"; multi-platinum producer John Fields; Papas Fritas founder/producer Tony Goddess; Matt Mahaffey of the acclaimed one-man-band Self; Jason Scheff, vocalist and bassist for the legendary band Chicago; singer-songwriter Paula Kelley; Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman; and even the Hanson brothers. This wildly eclectic crew was brought together by Boston pop auteur Bleu (William James McAuley III), who whimsically decided to embark on this unique project four years ago and managed to cajole his many far-flung pals to join him for the ride.
Mainstream audiences may recognize Bleu from "Somebody Else," his rock radio-worthy contribution to the Spiderman soundtrack or "I Won`t Go Hollywood," from Win A Date With Tad Hamilton. Savvy, left-field pop fans will know him from his own just-under-the-radar album, Redhead, which, according to Pop Matters, "recalls passionate days gone by of crunchy harmony-guitar leads and wonderful sing-along melodies and infectious choruses." He`s also toured with the likes of John Mayer, Five For Fighting, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Japanese duo Puffy AmiYumi. Alpacas Orgling, Bleu explains, had it`s genesis in an exchange with his songwriter friend Dan Wilson, late of the band Semi-Sonic. Wilson was recounting stories that producer Rick Rubin had told him about the unusual methods Electric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne employed to make records, both for himself and his bands and for such artists as The Beatles, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and the studio super-group, The Traveling Wilburys.
Bleu was intrigued. Alpacas Orgling, he explains, "started out as an excuse to try out some of these ideas Dan had told me about. Lynne has a very idiosyncratic way of recording. Looking back, I have no idea if these stories were true, but it all seemed to make a lot of sense to me at the time. I thought, I`ve got to try these things out to see if they work. So the project started out very slowly as a goof, getting together with different friends to see if we could write a Jeff Lynne-inspired song. Sometimes I would try specifically to emulate something he had done or pick it apart and put it back together. As it went along, the project morphed into more of an excuse to record with this incredibly talented group of likeminded musicians."
One could say that L.E.O. is a 21st century, alt-pop version of the Traveling Wilburys, filtering the spirit of ELO and like-minded groups through a modern, and more than a little subversive, sensibility. The performers use the same sort of distance-bridging technology as the Postal Service did on it`s groundbreaking Give Up; in fact, the L.E.O.-ers were lucky enough to have even more programs and bandwidth at their disposal. Many parts of this album were recorded remotely by the individual musicians and bounced back and forth via computer. As Bleu explains, "that was another big idea behind the project: almost everybody involved is a producer and has a home studio set-up and loves other producers. I basically executive- produced the album; everyone else produced their own parts. That was one of my goals, to get all these producers and let them do their thing and see what happens."
Sturmer signed on, he explains, because "as an impressionable young music fan, ELO`s presence simply could not be avoided. Jeff Lynne`s genius for hooks and melody left so many pop gems ringing in my ears that when it came time for me to start developing my own musical language, Mr. Lynne`s influence was inevitably present. In a parade of boring tribute albums, this CD is unique. Instead of filling it up with cover songs --which always fall far short of the originals --this project endeavors to honor the musical language of ELO, using its vocabulary to create entirely new conversations. The fact that so many vast new landscapes can be created within that framework is a testament, not just to the talents of the diverse artists involved here, but also to the vibrancy of the language created by Jeff Lynne and ELO."
The dialogue that Bleu created over the internet with his musical cohorts bolstered friendships that had originally been established face to face. For example, the New York City-based Mike Viola, who co-wrote "Distracted" and "Make Me," had only known Bleu by reputation when he invited Bleu to sit in on a show during a residency at Boston`s Paradise Lounge. As Mike recalls, "I was having local artists from Boston join me, people I had never met but had heard of, or with whom I shared mutual friends or fans. There was no official running order, with one band setting up while the other was breaking down. All the equipment got set up at once and each artist would play a few songs and hopefully it would evolve into a stream of consciousness where we performed what people in the room were really responding to as opposed to using a set list....Bleu got into the whole idea, the whole camaraderie of the musicians sharing their inspiration. One of the first songs we played together was ELO`s `Telephone Line`.... It sounded so amazing, I think we did it two times in a row because we were sure we would never get a chance to play it again. Shortly thereafter he told me about the L.E.O. project and he kept coming down to my shows and sitting in. He started sending me files and I did my stuff from New York. Hed send a song that needed a bridge, I`d give him one, he`d listen and edit, then send it back to me again."
As L.E.O.`s ringleader, Bleu had his hand in all aspects of the project. He wrote or co-authored all but one of these tracks himself and took on most lead vocal chores; he also played everything from guitars to keyboards to drums. Boston native John Fields -- whose impressively eclectic production credits include such artists as Andrew W.K., P!nk, Switchfoot, Semi-Sonic and the recent comeback disc from Soul Asylum -- had both performed on and produced Bleu`s Redhead. He was attracted to Bleu`s "intense charisma, his zest for life," and, John adds, "he really works hard. He`s a finisher, not just a starter." Swapping tracks with Bleu via iChat, he contributed guitar and bass to five of these tracks. Says Fields, "I didn`t have to give Bleu a whole mix, I could send him solos, electric guitar tracks, and he could have them within 30 seconds to ten minutes and I`d just lay them down at home." Drummer Tony Goddess -- a one-time member of the indie-pop band Papas Fritas, which started out at Tufts University in Boston -- wrote the music and collaborated on the lyrics for "Private Line." He first met Bleu when Bleu visited the studio where Goddess` current Boston-based band - the Cheap Trick-meets-Prince, pop-dance outfit, the Rudds - was working. Said Goddess, "he came down to a session and we hit it off pretty well. This guy has the goods Redhead was an awesome album. People should be shouting from the roof tops about his talent."
Every name on the album credits for Alpacas Orgling makes for great googling. The interconnections among these players suggest there`s a thriving, parallel pop universe in which artists like Bleu make music that`s both serious-minded and light-hearted, reclaiming familiar sounds from pop`s past to ensure its healthy future. It`s a place just beyond the mainstream, but not that hard to find. Alpacas Orgling is all the more compelling because these relatively unsung pop heroes have managed to effortlessly recreate, in clever and cheap do-it-yourself fashion, an expensive and much-labored-over studio sound. Along the way, L.E.O. gives their work emotional depth by injecting it with romance, wit and yearning. Alpacas Orgling is pop music designed for an instant of pleasure, yet secretly built to last.
Goodbye Innocence - mp3
Ya Had Me Goin` - mp3
Distracted - mp3
Make Me - mp3
The o`l College Try - mp3
Nothin` Will Ever Change - mp3
Don`t Let It Go - mp3
Private Line - mp3
Sukaz Are Born Everyminute - mp3
| Customer Reviews|
|My favorite album of 2006|
|Reviewer: Michael Allen|
|If you like ELO than this is a no brainer.|
|Good, but not worth calling home about|
|Reviewer: Evan Patten|
|Andy Sturmer? *check*
Tony Godess? *check*
Mike Viola? *check*
Right there, you have the ingredients for a solid "power pop" album.
What's missing is MEMORABLE songs. It's as if an E.L.O. clone band can carry the weight of an entire (albeit, brief) album without GOOD songs. The album, while slightly-better-than-mediocre, seems calculated and half-hearted. Jeff Lynne was/is great, but how about a little more originality?|
|A terrific album. Not a bad track.|
|Reviewer: Scott Weiner|
|I initially found out about L.E.O. by going to some JellyFish MySpace pages. ELO was always one of my favorite groups and the tracks we could listen to on MySpace were great.
I pre-ordered the album and have listened to it constantly since I got it.
I think this is a terrific production and one of the best CD's I've heard in ages.
I don't understand those who would be critical of this album. It's pure enjoyment.|
|L.E.O Did what ELO Part 2 could not|
|Reviewer: Steven Acevedo|
|I give these guys credit for doing what ELO Part 2 Former Members could not. Do some brilliant new music as opposed to doing rehashes of ELO Lynne cover songs.
They are refreshingly good and I like their attitude about it.|
|Good concept but lacks punch!|
|Reviewer: Martin Richens|
|I love the music of ELO. I truly love the musical genius of Jeff Lynne. I've followed the tribulations of ELO and those who have tried to emulate them since 1973 when I was four years old and got a brand new copy of On the Third Day from my dad. There ain't nothin like ELO and I don't think there ever will be again. Nowadays, even Jeff Lynne seems jaded and cynical after so many years of seemingly working in an industry that he has, understandably, come to despise. Anybody who uses Jeff Lynne as a catalyst for a musical work is going to be on the right track and will not go far wrong. However, this album doesn't quite make the grade as a musical piece in its own right. There are some interesting songs: Goodbye Innocence, Distracted and The ol' College Try, but the rest of the album is distinctly mediocre and lacks that killer punch that 'The Feeling' almost achieved with their album "Twelve Stops and Home". Don't get me wrong, I like this album but its GOTTA be just a little bit stronger for my full liking. Don't give up with this. Keep the idea going but get more beatlesque melody, more soaring vocals, get a choir, get a kick-ass orchestra and you just might find the inspiration that you couldn't quite find here.|
|L.E.O. Alpacas Orgling|
|Reviewer: Jon Stover|
|The other review complains about lack of originality, well if that's the standard I guess we should all be buying Royksopp, Mum, TV on the Radio...Hey, but this is Power Pop and this CD takes me right back to the glory days of ELO, and few thought they were original in their time ( called Beatles/Badfinger clones)...Who cares, these are great melodic powerfully poppy songs, which you can listen to over and over again. If you long for the Jeff Lynne sound, this is your calling. If you're a British rock critic and trying to discover the next big thing or subscribe to the "must change my life "standard before buying, then take a hike...|
|Reviewer: Billy Crayola|
|When I saw the first review of this i just had to post something, because frankly, I couldn't disagree more. Everything I've heard of this record so far (myspace, notlame clips, etc.) is just stellar. To my ears, these folks have put together something truly unique. Not just a rehash of ELO magic, but refreshing new (and superglue catchy) songs cut in an old style. I think these folks have done a true service to Jeff Lynne by not simply recording lame covers of his hits. I can't wait to play these gems over and over again.|
|Late 70s-80s E.L.O. emulated perfectly|
|Reviewer: Paul Weeks|
|This album really captures the sound of ELO! It's as if Jeff Lynne was in the studio producing this album, laying down all the background vocals, echoes and layered instrumentation of his unique style. If you long for new music from ELO/Jeff Lynne, this is a nice tribute album that will at least partially fill that void.|
|Reviewer: Peter Fitzpatrick|
|from what i have heard on the preview i was impressed by the high quality of the music ! i was so impressed that i ordered it straight away! i am fan of power pop bands such as elo and Badfinger think of this as tribute like The Rutles!
so "Do Ya Self A Favour" and get this !|
|I love LOVE this record|
|Reviewer: Jean Cardinale|
|Yes, I said it. . .it has that tyme inspired RECORD feel that brings me back to the 70's and 80's and all that was great about Jeff Lynne and ELO. Plus, after the breakup of Jellyfish, I longed to hear the vocal stylings of Andy Sturmer. I will listen and listen to this record, as I did will all the other great albums - oh, and a tour. . .say yes!! Thanks NotLame!!!|
|Just a classic!!|
|Reviewer: Terry Clarke|
|However this project got started the end result is a classic pop album-simple as that!!|
|i think jeff lynne would like this|
|Reviewer: edward higgins|
|during the dying days of "the move", roy wood and jeff lynne formed a side project
called "electric light orchestra". mr. wood became disenchanted with the direction the new band was taking and left after the first record "no answer." under the leadership of jeff lynne
elo became one of the best bands of the 70's, although many critics called them beatles'
copycats. i didn't care because their music was melodic and very layered with great lyrics.
this l.e.o. cd captures that elo spirit from the 70's without being elo copycats.
great production values that mr. lynne would appreciate along with excellent songs that will become even more appealing as one plays the cd more often.
imo, the two songs that really stand out are "make me" and "don't let it go."
all in all, a wonderful cd that embodies everything that is good about 'power pop!'|
|What a Great Gem!|
|Reviewer: R.J. Richards|
|I purchased this CD with subdued expectations; I've found that few performers come very close to the "Real Jeff Lynne Sound". Some are passable (ELO Part II's Moment of Truth comes to mind) but most are meh.
How delightful, then, it was to hear song after song that are as close to True Blue Jeff Lynne as I've heard in a long time. Bleu has done a masterful job of deconstructing and reassembling the subtleties of Jeff Lynne's melodies and hooks and vocals, not just from Lynne's ELO era but also from his work with Traveling Wilburys and even Roy Orbison . Some of the melodies are a little derivative, but updates rather than pastiches, and there isn't a single track that I wouldn't recommend, with the possible exception of their hidden cover of "Don't Bring Me Down" which is fair at best.
This CD will be on my regular rotation for a good long time, I think. I'm very delighted. I can only hope that Bleu creates more of this wonderful sound. I am unfamiliar with Jellyfish but shall now give that a listen, too.|
|L.E.O. - Alpacas Orgling|
|Reviewer: Whit www.whitsbrain.com|
|How does this lineup sound to you? Bleu, Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), Mike Viola (The Candy Butchers), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), Matt Mahaffey (Self), John Fields, Tony Goddess (pApAs fritAs), Hanson, Eric Barao (The Cautions), Scott Simons (The Argument)...yeah, we thought so. Fans of Electric Light Orchestra will absolutely love this, but it has so much more to offer. Everyone of the songs on Alpacas Orgling melds the talents of the popsters above into sweet tributes to Jeff Lynne and the contributions he made to the Power Pop genre. But take note, this release is loaded with originals not remakes. This is special music that will excite, soothe and satisfy lovers of Pop music everywhere.|
|Reviewer: joseph shaffner|
|Yes, yes, yes. Taking ELO is to the next level. After overplaying ELO for decades, I was now getting my Jeff Lynne fix from Tom Petty. After discovering Bleu's Redhead in 2005, I have been anxiously awaiting a follow up. As a hardcore Todd Rundgren fan, I am used to seeing great talent go unrecognized,|
|WONDERFUL EFFORT FROM BLEU AND ALPACAS ORGLING|
|Reviewer: alden marin|
|Having been a pop and power pop fan for years--going back to the Sixties (and having actually SEEN the Beatles live at Dodger Stadium around '65!) I think this Alpacas Orgling album has it all, for classic pop fans and lovers of ELO, and other classic 70's and 80's sounds. The fact Andy Sturmer is on here is worth it alone, harkening back to those great and much missed Jellyfish tunes of years back. Alpacas doses us with ELO stylings and so much more--like Fountains of Wayne, there's some tongue in cheek work here that equals or surpasses the source of inspiration: Bleu and his stellar buddies have created a sound that's hybrid all right, but certainly much more than the sum of its parts. This gem stuffed collection of songs will have you scurrying not only for old ELO but also for Jason Falkner, Grays, and Bleu's own CLEAR masterpiece REDHEAD. You gotta LOVE Alpacas Orgling for sheer joy, listenability and excellence of production. This one's a winner and a lotta fun and lovely stuff. I gottta go--I have to hear INNOCENCE again for the 25th time, today...yup, that good...alden marin|
|Reviewer: George Newsome|
|Wow (such an understatement). This reminds me of ELO in it's prime, and if you were'nt paying attention, you would've swore it was a new ELO release. I surmize it's even BETTER than the ELO "Jet" release a few years back. Jeff Lynne should be very flattered by this amazing album, and should consider re-creating a new ELO using these superior musicians. Very, very excellent album.|
|Nostalgic and Contemporary|
|Reviewer: Greg Timm|
|As an "old fart" who grew up with ELO in the 70's, as well as a later fan of Jellyfish, I found this album to be truly excellent! Some of the nuances were spot-on to ELO while managing to be fresh! I hope to see more from these guys!|
|Reviewer: W. Scott McComas|
|Having been a lifelong ELO fan, I have to say that this is a close to the real ELO sound as anyone has ever done. I agree that this is what ELO Pt 2 COULDNT do. They had some decent songs, but as a stand alone entity, they failed in my opinion. This group, and THIS album, is amazing. When first I heard "Goodbye Innocence" I thought it was a Jeff Lynne produced song. Then as i listened and I SWORE I heard Paul McCartney singing, I was dumbfounded. This might be my favorite song of all time . . . I dont know.
As the album went on, it just got better and better for me. I hope that eventually Bleu gets everyone back together and does a follow up. By the way, his latest album is great too . .check it out . . .|