Two from Ten

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10cc's first two albums, recorded under the sponsorship of entrepreneur and one-time pop star Jonathan King, are combined on one disc for this CD reissue. 1973's 10cc shows that from the start, the group had an uncommon command of recording studio technique; the performances are polished, the harmonies superb, and the production flawless and often witty (all the more remarkable from a new band producing themselves, albeit one comprised of music-biz vets). However, the group was still getting up to speed in terms of their songwriting at this point, and while the craft is fine, there isn't a lot of inspiration on hand. Except for the sardonic "Rubber Bullets" and sarcastically sprightly "The Dean and I," the '50s-inspired parodies on side one don't wear well, and most of side two is clever but not terribly distinguished. 1974's Sheet Music was where 10cc truly hit their stride; the album is full of effective barbed humor buffered by the superbly polished production, which leans toward pretension without quite falling into the pool. The band began dipping their toes into the elaborate extended narratives that would become Kevin Godley and Lol Creme's hallmark on "Somewhere in Hollywood" and "Hotel," while "Silly Love" and "The Wall Street Shuffle" proved the band could rock when they felt like it, and "The Sacro-Iliac" is one of the greatest non-dance craze tunes ever. [In 2007, Recall did a straight reissue of the 1990 DCC release with different cover art.]

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