Label – UK
Producers – 10CC
10CC were without doubt a terrific singles band. Their combination of inventive art rock melodies and witty lyrics would make for a welcome escape from the general pop pap, but their albums were very often marred by a tendency to twee eclecticism and over ambition. Superb musicians with a deep understanding of rhythms, style and melodic harmonies they were in the enviable position of having four genuine songwriters who had the confidence to experiment with their output. Very often one would find one or sometimes two genre shifts during the same song, and fans would argue that this versatility showed the bands ability to maintain the listener’s interest. Those who weren’t fans would say that the constant musical shifts left one with nothing to anchor to, and the songs became a confusing blur of odd time signals and forgettable tunes.
The best songs from “Sheet Music” are those that stick reasonably close to traditional style or genre, particularly the rockers (“Wall Street Shuffle” and “Silly Love”) which not only show that 10CC can find guaranteed polished hooks, but can deliver some of the more acidic dry lyrics than most 70s bands. There almost seems a competition for each individual songwriter to come up with the smartest phrase or funniest couplet as Lol Crème and Eric Stewart sing “ooh, you know the art of conversation must be dying, ooh when a romance depends on clichés, and toupees, and threepes”, and few would seriously risk rhyming “Norman Mailer” and “Wants to nail her” without a winking tongue in cheek. It’s all intelligent stuff, but intelligent doesn’t always make memorable, and although “Sheet Music” makes for an interesting pop diversion it lacks something that probably Art students totally understand. For un-educated clods like me it’s too clever clever.
“Sheet Music” occasionally grabs you, makes you smile, but rarely grabs your heart, and all too infrequently etches into your memory.
A1 The Wall Street Shuffle 4:02
A2 The Worst Band in the World 2:45
A3 Hotel 5:00
A4 Old Wild Men 3:18
A5 Clockwork Creep 2:45
B1 Silly Love 3:56
B2 Somewhere in Hollywood 6:38
B3 Baron Samedi 3:40
B4 The Sacro-Iliac 2:30
B5 Oh Effendi 2:50