10cc's second album was the next phase in what guitarist Eric Stewart called the band's "masterplan to control the universe. The Sweet, Slade, and Gary Glitter are all very valuable pop," he proclaimed, "but it's fragile because it's so dependent on a vogue. We don't try to appeal to one audience, or aspire to instant stardom, we're satisfied to move ahead a little at a time as long as we're always moving forward." Sheet Music, perhaps the most widely adventurous album of what would become a wildly adventurous year, would more than justify that claim. "It grips the heart of rock'n'roll like nothing I've heard before," raved Melody Maker, before describing 10cc as "the Beach Boys of "Good Vibrations," the Beatles of "Penny Lane," they're the mischievous kid next door, they're the Marx Brothers, they're Jack and Jill, they're comic cuts characters, and they're sheer brilliance." Stewart certainly agreed -- he told that same paper, 10cc's music was "better than 90% of the sheer unadulterated crap that's in the charts" and, 20 years on, bassist Graham Gouldman continued, "Sheet Music is probably the definitive 10cc album. What it was, our second album wasn't our difficult second album, it was our best second album. It was the best second album we ever did." Three hit singles spun off the record, and most of the other tracks could have followed suit; it says much for Sheet Music's staying power that, no matter how many times the album is reissued, it has never lost its power to delight, excite, and set alight a lousy day.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson