Unlikely New Gem...ELO

Apropos to the recent rock music with strings thread:

ELO was always a mixed bag for me. I liked all of the main songwriters - Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, and (in later iterations) Parthenon Huxley. However, the main conceit (strings) usually detracted from the main pleasure (guitar driven pop/rock). Well.....

Jeff Lynne has gotten the band back together and released a record of beautifully crafted pop songs. IMO, it's Lynne at his best, recalling the Beatles and Tom Petty first and foremost. Not a lot of strings here (a good thing, IMO). Nothing particularly groundbreaking or original, either....just top notch songwriting, playing and singing.

Unlikely as it seems, I think the record is definitely worth hearing and might be ELO's best work (snarky "bar is low" commentary is unnecessary).
Right on and I give you high grades for your writing skills (a lost art) too. I just wrote to an old college friend of mine about this record which communication echoes your sentiments. Jeff, now and when in The Move, is probably the most Beatle-like musician, other than the Fab Four themselves, who ever walked the earth. A lovely record this new one is.
Child of the 70s - love most of ELO, even with strings! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

Sorry about the odd omission in my original post:

"Alone In The Universe" it is!