Godley & Creme

Consequences

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This album, the solo debut of former 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, is generally considered to be one of the most notorious examples of '70s music-business excess. Consequences began its life as a single designed to show off the "gizmo," a musical device created by Godley & Creme that allowed an electric guitar to create symphonic-sounding textures when attached to its neck. Somewhere along the line, this single blew up into a triple-disc concept album about nature taking its revenge on mankind through hurricanes, floods, and the like. The first disc is almost entirely instrumental, using the "gizmo" to create all sorts of different textures as a hurricane dubbed "Honolulu Lulu" trashes Hawaii and heads for the United States. This stuff is a feat of clever engineering (there is a particularly funny part where an obnoxious rock band at an outdoor festival is swept away by a flood), but the musical content is lacking in hooks or melodies and thus fails to involve the listener. Consequences moves into its story line on the second disc, dividing its time between songs from Godley & Creme and spoken word comedy sketches written and performed by legendary British comedian Peter Cook that push the plot forward. The story focuses on a married couple working out the details of their divorce with their respective lawyers as the storms and earthquakes kick in. Their only hope is the downstairs neighbor, an eccentric composer named Blint who is working on a concerto that may be able to stop nature's revenge. The songs are mainly cutesy fluff: although they have clever arrangements and lush vocal harmonies, they lack the kind of memorable melodies that would bring the album's many concepts to life. The one song that stands apart from the dross is "Five O'Clock in the Morning," a clever and subtle portrait of suburban malaise that became a minor European hit. The comedy bits have some clever moments of wordplay, but weigh the album down because they go on too long and distract from the music. When the climactic "Blint's Tune" finally arrives, it is merely a meandering and overlong piano-led instrumental. Simply put, Consequences is a disaster: its humor is labored, its musical content is dull, and the mind-numbing length of the album proved that neither Godley nor Creme knew when to quit. The duo later proved they were capable of better and more focused satirical pop on albums like Freeze Frame, but they are lucky this creative train wreck didn't end their career before it could start. [Originally released in 1977, Consequences was reissued on CD in 2001.]

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