(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Where would art-rock be without a band like 10cc? Along with Roxy Music, Be Bop Deluxe, 10cc were considered to be the innovators of the 70's era progressive rock scene by most of the music critics, because of their wry, ironic lyrics (which only Steely Dan was better at) which was unlike anything their "pompous" peers were doing.
Those are pretty strong words as 10cc's recordings aren't usually considered amongst the top 100 Progressive rock recordings, but yet because of their pop sensibilities, the band's art-rock flair was accessible to many whom otherwise thought were willing to get into progressive rock, but were not willing to sit through 10 minutes of excess to get a song across.
10cc's third album, The Original Soundtrack is the band's magnum opus, an album that ranks with the best albums in my prog collection. The Original Soundtrack is not necessarily a progressive rock album, as per say Yes' Close To The Edge or Jethro Tull's A Passion Play which both have long winded passages, that can take you for a long bumpy ride by the time it is albums are over, but The Original Soundtrack is more in the vein of a less pompous Genesis, without the seriousness that associated with them.
By the time this album came along in 1975, the band of the legendary bassist/songwriter Graham Gouldman, multi-instrumentalist Eric Stewart, the more POP oriented duo of the 10cc were already beginning to shift away from the ambitious art-rocking half of the band, multi-instrumentalist Lol Creme and percussionist/vocalist Kevin Godley, where there seemed to be split in the song writing, where the duos seemed to competing against each other, but at least for this album, the creative tensions did not hurt the album, as for the songs written by the Gouldman/Stewart half spawned on of the greatest Pop songs of all time in the fabulous "I'm Not In Love", which not being a love song, is considered one of the greatset love making song of the seventies.
The Godley and Creme team had to deal with the success of the other halves single, but in most progressive rock fans hearts, did so with the album's first track, "Un Nuit A Paris" (One Night In Paris), which clearly is the most "progressive" track on the album. The suite of "Un Nuit", is a like a song that is straight out of the movie "Moulin Rouge", with its bizarre lyrical theme (based on rouge cops) and phenomenal vocalizing (that would put Queen to shame) and burlesque styled music, is worth the price of getting this CD alone.
The third song, (skipping the already reviewed, "I'm Not In Love") Gouldman/Stewart penned "Blackmail" is a hilarious stab at a jealous husband whom tried to ruin his cheating wife by sending pictures of her infidelity to Playboy, only to make her a star instead. Funny.
Everyone here or at least we would think everyone has seen the famously painting of Jesus, sitting at the middle of the table breaking bread with his apostles, well the only group penned track, "The Second Sitting Of The Last Supper" is a hilarious to some, but offensive to many take on that picture. I'll let you decide on whether your in for this song.
Godley And Creme, love of old Afro/American spiritual hymns was the inspiration for "Brand New Day", its a lovely song, sung by the band's best singer, Kevin Godley (no offense to 10cc's other three whom all have great singing voices as well) whose lovely falsetto is lovingly caring for this tune. "Flying Junk" is another great tune that builds up momentum then starts to rock then fades away.
The next song, and one of my favorite 10cc songs of all time, the great and funny take on life's issues, "Life Is A Ministrone" was the next hit single of the album, and Godley and Creme's counterbalance to Gouldman and Stewart's serious themed "I'm Not In Love". The song was a major hit worldwide but despite heavy rotation in the US, was not hit.
The last song and Gouldman and Stewart's version of the other half's pretensions "The Film Of My Life" bookends a rather great album by creating a song that seemed straight out of the thirties than it did the seventies. Bryan Ferry eat your heart out.
The CD remaster adds two outtake tracks, B-Sides to the bands hit singles: "Channnel Swimmer", (B-side to "Life Is A Ministrone") is about a man swimming to meet his love on the other side of the English Channel, and in his lust to see her, forgets that he can't swim and drowns instead. And the last track ballad "Good News" the B-side to "I'm Not In Love", despite it's loveliness is depressing especially the fact that it backed "I'm Not In Love"!
The seeds of dissension were sowed on this album, although the vastness of the problems would not manifest itself until the next album, How Dare You, the split between the group's creativeness peaked here, and The Original Soundtrack plays out effortlessly like a movie screenplay both in studio and amongst the four members of 10cc.
Album rating: Five Stars