Through office osmosis I've rediscovered Manchester's greatest band. Stuff the Stone Roses (and Uncut's frankly lame attempt to get them back together), the Smiths and the god-awful New Order - the city's most talented sons have to be 10CC! Oft described as the British Steely Dan, these guys came from a similar background to Walter and Donald (former cogs in the 60s pop production line etc.) but instead of a shared love of Duke Ellington, it was musicals, 50s doo-wop and the Beatles that fuelled their 'post-modern before post-modern' approach. They share the same traits as the Dan: Self-referential ("The Worst Band In The World"), cynical ("Oh Effendi!"), adult ("Iceberg"), and still able to drop a hook at the drop of a hat (just about all of their singles); sometimes at a dizzying speed of knots. Check "I Wanna Rule The World" - it's like five great songs rolled into one (for a great vid of this check here).
And the guitar work! Creme and Stewart were, at times, a veritable Betts and Allmann of the UK chart scene. Of course it all went pear-shaped when Lol Creme and Kevin Godley left to form, erm...Godley and Creme. Half of the cleverness went, replaced by a saccharine quality that had been kept in check until then by the duo's acerbic (and very Jewish) humour. I always suspect that Gouldman and Stewart didn't have the taste and style of the other pair, which explains how they came up with something as awful as "Dreadlock Holiday". Mind you, there was always Godley and Creme's "Snack Attack"...
Earlier work such as "Rubber Bullets" displayed far more edge-pushing in the guise of pure pop. How many chart songs could get away with a line like 'I love to hear those convicts squeal. It's a shame these slugs ain't real...'? Genius.
One album I've never heard is the reunion album, ...Meanwhile. Anyone know if it's any good?