I could dribble on and on about Cloud 9, but just want to say my favourite songs on it are "Fish On The Sand", "Devil's Radio", and the title track. Add in the hit singles, and it's a pretty strong album.
As for the comments on the Jeff Lynne factor, I think he's one of those guys in the music business who genuinely loved The Beatles so much, he wished to emulate their sound as he imagines it in his own mind, which is like that Abbey Road era with lots of big drums. So, this is where you get this trademark pattern with drums doing this regular 4/4 thing with a prominent 'dead-sounding snare, flanked by dah-dah-dah-dah-dah keyboards in behind it...the kind of sound you hear in much ELO songs as well as Tom Petty I Won't Back Down, Fish on the Sand, and Flaming Pie. Then when you get a slower tempo song, Jeff Lynne will use a drum sound not too dissimilar to Ringo in the likes of Hey Jude / Hello Goodbye (if slowed down)/ Let It Be etc, like what you hear in Telephone Line and Free As A Bird.
The whole Jeff Lynne production style can get on the nerves of people, but I kinda like it, I associate it with a classic formula of sorts. I can imagine how people find it annoying when you swear he's copy-and-pasted that backing track ad infinitum for another song. I think he should break the mould and do DJ dance mixes, myself
I needed comfort of love just to get me some piece of mind.. wo-oh