ALBUM REVIEW : *** JEFF LYNNE "Armchair Theatre" Warner Bros. : Albums are rated from five stars (a classic) to one star (poor).

Without looking at the credits, you'd swear that the former Electric Light Orchestra maestro and current Wilbury and producer-to-the-stars called in a bunch of favors for his solo debut. Scrambled with Lynne's own distinctively lush ELO aesthetic, there's some of Roy Orbison's soaring romanticism, a dash of Tom Petty's dry wit, a touch of Dave Edmunds' roots consciousness. And there's certainly no mistaking George Harrison's Indian modality on the album's two most arresting tracks, the hauntingly curry-flavored "Now You're Gone" and "Don't Say Goodbye," in which Harrisonian verses alternate with an Elvis-ish chorus.

But read the credits and you'll see that save for one co-writing credit by Petty and a couple of guitar contributions by Harrison, this is all the theater of Lynne's mind and a product of his talents as a musical appropriator and customizer. The best songs generally take a mix 'n' match approach a la the Wilburys, with disparate styles contrasting with and complementing each other, sometimes from one line to the next. The least successful are three relatively perfunctory non-originals (the rocker "Don't Let Go" and the sentimental "September Song" and "Stormy Weather") that merely take up space and detract from Lynne's own assemblages. As is, it's still a thoroughly enjoyable show.

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