10cc: Deceptive Bends 1977
That 10cc isn’t more universally loved and revered in this day and age is a huge injustice.
Back in the 70s, they were the thinking man and woman’s pop band, producing a string of peerless and intelligent singles, many in the Beatles class, that have certainly stood the test of time.
And even when they began to splinter, with Lol Creme and Kevin Godley forming their own band, it was most definitely not a case of 5cc, as Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart soldiered on.
The first fruits of the slimline 10cc were certainly rich pickings with the fabulous collection of material that made up 1977’s Deceptive Bends.
With the superb Good Morning Judge kicking the LP off in grand style, the standard maintains throughout and I think that time has smiled on the album and it has never sounded better than right now.
The Things We Do For Love was, of course, a huge hit. For me, it’s one of the definitive records of its era. Top of the form pop writing and an AOR radio staple even to this day. Marvellous.
Deceptive Bends is a veritable smorgasbord of memorable tunes. People In Love is unquestionably another 10cc classic and arguably should have been a massive hit.
Modern Man Blues has always been a big personal favourite. Like much of the LP, it’s a track bathed in a wondrous guitar tone, straddling a unique line between rock and pop; a signature 10cc trademark.
Honeymoon on B Troop is so clever and catchy, deploying a lot of studio multi-track trickery and definitely not taking itself too seriously. Love it.
I Bought A Flat Guitar Tutor continues the sense of humour with a wonderful laid back feel, while things move up a gear tempo-wise on You’ve Got A Cold with its tongue in cheek lyrics.
But maybe the best is saved for last with the epic three-part Feel The Benefit. A technical tour de force that has ridden the decades with some aplomb. A wonderful way to end a spectacular album.
Of course, no reflection on Deceptive Bends should overlook the great Hipgnosis cover art that in my view is among their very best work. I can so vividly remember the diver and girl image in the record shop windows. This was a time of unprecedented investment in record visuals and who can ever forget the smell of new vinyl that the stores had back then. A great time to be young and in awe of it all.
A word also about my copy shown here, which is a very near mint original US pressing on Mercury. This is an exceptionally hot cut, Masterdisk pressed, with a fantastic dynamic range. The 1997 remastered CD is no slouch either and I would honestly recommend owning both, not least because the compact disc has some good bonus tracks. It can’t quite compete with the vinyl sonically, played on the right system, however.
All in all an essential record and one that just seems to sound better and better.
Chris Wright | Now Spinning