Under The Radar: Electric Light Orchestra, Balance of Power (1986)
Balance of Power (BoP) was the eleventh studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) .The record was released in the US and Canada on February 17, 1986. BoP was the final album by the band to feature co-founder Bev Bevan on drums, as well as the last album to feature keyboardist Richard Tandy in an official capacity, until 2019's From Out Of Nowhere.
BoP was produced by ELO’s co-founder, lead vocalist and primary songwriter Jeff Lynne. With their eleventh studio record, Jeff Lynne decided not to use the lush orchestration that defined the group, in favor of synthesizers which has become synonymous with records of the time. This shift in the groups sound was met with mostly negative reviews from both critics and fans alike.
Granted BoP doesn’t reach the heights of Eldorado, Face The Music, A New World Record or Out of the Blue, but it does have a few moments of pop grandeur. Songs like the album opener; Heaven Only Knows , the hit single; Calling America, the ballad; Without Someone, and the Beatle-esque; Endless Lies make BoP worth a dusting off.
BoP may not go down in history as ELO’s crowning achievement,but if given a chance there a few gems to be rediscovered.
So if you like ELO or Jeff Lynne then you owe it to yourself to give Balance of power another spin and listen to Lynne’s uncanny ability to create beautiful melodies and hook filled choruses.