Roll Over Beethoven

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Orkestra is the brainchild of singer/bassist Kelly Groucutt and violinist Mik Kaminski, former members of the Electric Light Orchestra who formed the band in 1987, just after Electric Light Orchestra packed it in. Their purpose, of course, is to act as an ELO clone band, performing the group's repertoire in concert in order to satiate the hunger of ELO fans no longer being addressed by founder/leader Jeff Lynne, who headed off to California. All well and good, but after half a dozen years on the road, the band had worked up their own material in the style of ELO, and here is an album's worth of it. As in the music of the original group, it is progressive rock in which a rock & roll rhythm section supports amplified strings, along with synthesizers and horns, topped by tenor lead vocals and massed background vocals. Groucutt, Kaminski, and company lack Lynne's knack for pop hooks, and they seem to be a bit more ambitious. Occasionally, they sound more like, say, Yes or the Moody Blues (or even the Bee Gees) than they do ELO, although their relatively anonymous approach makes them more of a second-rate Alan Parsons Project most of the time. ELO fans waiting for Lynne to re-form the band or make one of his infrequent solo recordings might grasp at this for their hit of prog rock, but it doesn't really live up to the original.

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