Tenology

10cc

UMC, 2012

http://www.10ccworld.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/04/2012

10cc had some commercial success in the United States, but in their native United Kingdom, they achieved close to superstar status. They have undergone several reunions and breakups, but their classic and most creative period occurred from 1972-1983. Their new four CD box set, Tenology, covers that period, with 62 of the 64 tracks showcasing all of their hit singles, B-sides, some deep album cuts, and a few unreleased tracks from that era. It is a fine way to celebrate the bands 40th anniversary.

The one constant for 10cc has been Graham Gouldman. He began his career as a prolific songwriter. He wrote such songs as “For Your Love” and “Heart Full Of Soul” for the Yardbirds, “Bus Stop” and “Look Through Any Window” for The Hollies, and “Listen People” and “No Milk Today” for Herman’s Hermits. In 1971, he formed the band Hotlegs with Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Crème. After one hit song, “Neanderthal Man,” they changed their name to 10cc.nbtc__dv_250

Unless you want to seek out their original albums, Tenology is the best compilation of the band’s music I have seen and heard. It is a fine overview of their early career, presenting them in all their idiosyncratic glory.

The first two discs are devoted to their singles. The sound is significantly different from track to track. It may have been this lack of a cohesive sound and the unusual or avant-garde quality of many of their releases that prevented extensive radio airplay in the United States when compared to their native country, as “I’m Not in Love” and “The Things We Do For Love” were their only significant American hits.

The 32 tracks are presented in chronological order beginning with 1972’s “Donna” and ending with 1992’s “Women In Love” and “Welcome To Paradise,” which are the only two tracks released after 1983. Whether it is the Phil Spector type Wall Of Sound style of “I’m Not In Love,” where their voices are overdubbed into a virtual choir, or the reggae of “Dreadlock Holiday,” or the pop leanings of “The Things We Do For Love,” this release is never boring.

The third disc is reserved for album tracks. The 18 songs cover their six studio albums released 1973-1978. “Flying Junk” (about drug pushers), the brutal religious commentary of “The Second Sitting For The Last Supper,” and love’s failings on “Don’t Hang Up” are highlights.

The fourth disc is labeled B-sides and rarities. It is a hit and miss disc, as many of the songs consigned to the B-sides of singles were given that fate for a reason. “Channel Swimmer” is more accessible than many of their A-side material, but a track like “Don’t Squeeze Me Like Toothpaste” sums up their eclectic nature. The only two previously unreleased tracks, “People In Love (The Voodoo Boogie)” and “The Recording Of Dean And I” are more interesting than essential.

10cc has always been an interesting band worth exploring. Tenology is an excellent introduction to the classic period of an oft-overlooked group.

Rating: B+

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