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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

10 cc

Sheet Music

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit, I haven’t listened to 10 cc in years and even when I owned their albums (yes, this was in the days of vinyl) this isn’t one I had. I remember really enjoying the hits the group produced, but didn’t remember much else about them. Well, I’m incredibly impressed with this disc. While I know these guys are considered a pop band, I have to put them in the prog category based on this track. It shares common ground with a lot of classic rockers, but there is enough of a sense of experimentation and just plain oddness to make this fit into progressive rock. The really amazing thing is how these guys were able to take odd musical formats and shifts and twists in weird directions and make it seem accessible – and yes, even catchy. Now, that is skill! If you’ve never checked out 10 cc, I highly recommend this disc as a starting point. If you were a fan in the past, but haven’t listened to them in a while, then by all means, give this one a try.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Wall Street Shuffle
Wow, what an interesting piece of music this is! It leads off with a hard rocking sound, but turns quickly into a more sedate pattern of bouncy music. They wander through a series of varying segments – some of which are actually a bit odd. The thing is, through it all the track remains catchy as hell. At varying points in the track I’m reminded of Steely Dan, Supertramp, Sweet, Max Webster, Klaatu and even early Genesis. The harder edged segment that closes the festivities is a great touch. What a great way to start off the disc.
The Worst Band in the World
An odd sort of sound leads this off and they power up from there, but only a bit. This is extremely quirky and very funny. The changes here are simply incredible with comparisons to Frank Zappa seeming rather appropriate. This turns more into catchy sounds later, but they still turn it playful and odd after that.
Hotel
This is extremely odd. Weird sound effects hold the track for the early segments, then it takes on an almost creepy approach as the vocals come in over this. The funny thing is, when they hit the chorus, it becomes a bouncing reggae-styled tune. It’s weird, but I like it a lot. It takes on a sound that I find akin to modern Yes’ ventures into that genre and they keep changing things around from one stylistic texture to another.
Old Wild Men
This cut reminds me of tin pan alley a bit, but with heavy doses of The Beatles and prog rock balladic sounds. Mellow and more cohesive than some of the other material here, this is a nice chance to regain your footing in some more grounded territory. As the arrangement turns more complex later I hear more of those early Genesis sounds at times. We also get a bit of Don Ho here.
Clockwork Creep
This fast paced cut is somewhat jazzy and very playful. It’s a difficult sound to describe, stripped down but very fast paced. The bass drives a lot of this one. It turns a bit more towards the vein of mellower Queen and The Beatles later. I actually hear the Buggles in this, too – OK, I know the Buggles didn’t exist yet, but still.
Silly Love
This one rocks out, but still maintains the quirky, slightly off-kilter madness. I love the cool hard rocking segment and the odd Queen type old time music segment that follows it.
Somewhere in Hollywood
Angelic sounds open things here and hold on to control for a while. It shifts out into an electronic sort of pop rock approach as it carries on. Then bursts of extremely powerful music pound in at points. The electro music approach continues onward until it gives way to the verse section, a fairly straightforward, but still a bit quirky pop rock sound. This is another that calls to mind the Beatles, but also Queen. The lyrics are both funny and risque. It moves out later into a more prog-like synth based section that still has a certain tongue in cheek approach to its arrangement. This works out toward more melodic and straightforward sounds. After a few more shifts and changes we even get a bit of country guitar.
Baron Samedi
The fast paced mode that starts this reminds me of some of the late 1960’s music in songs like “Tequila,” but it shifts out into some more Steely Dan like sounds and then works its way through a number of cool changes and varying sounds. This is incredibly diverse, seeming to change with just about every measure of music. There is a cool flamenco inspired jam later in the cut.
The Sacro-Iliac
Bouncy and fun, this is quite a cool piece of music. It’s still full of quirky changes and has a definite tongue in cheek sound. It is also one of the more proggy pieces, feeling like pop Frank Zappa in some ways.
Oh Effendi
Rocking out a bit harder than the last cut this has a funky, rock and roll sound that reminds me a bit of some of Ringo Starr’s solo work. I also hear a bit of Dr. Hook in this arrangement. They still manage to work more quirky changes and modes into the arrangement. A bouncy guitar dominated segment in this one reminds me a lot of Steve Howe.
18 Carat Man Of Means
Here we get a bit more straightforward classic rocker than a lot of the other music on show here. This one is still fun, and the less challenging arrangement has it feeling a bit refreshing. This still manage to pull a few little twists into the track, mostly in the vocal arrangement.
Gismo My Way
A mellower styling with bluesy jazzy sounds leads this off as another change of pace. This is balladic and quite pretty and powerful. This instrumental is one of the strongest pieces of music on show, even if it’s one of the least dynamic or unique ones. It’s tasteful and tasty and serves for a great way of bringing things back down to Earth for the conclusion of the disc.
 
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