Godley & Creme - Body Of Work 1978-1988 album review

Box set covering the career of former 10cc-ers

Cover art for Godley & Creme - Body Of Work 1978-1988 album

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This is not a comprehensive collection – it doesn’t include Consequences, the 1977 concept triple album Godley & Creme made featuring vocal contributions from the improbable pairing of Peter Cook and jazz singer Sarah Vaughan. They instantly regretted the album when they realised that while they were making it, punk had arrived like a tornado to blow away such conceits as theirs. Forty years on, however, it’s a curio worth hearing in its own right.

Commencing with 1978’s L, however, Godley & Creme built up a recording career wonderfully adjacent to the trends of the day, maintaining their independence of vision. This Sporting Life, from that album, lies somewhere between Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Van Dyke Parks, while Sandwiches Of You sounds like Zappa if he’d had a soul instead of a sneer.

Because of their invention of the ‘gizmo’ (a wheeled device used to give a guitar a violin-like effect) and the harmonizer (as used on I Pity Inanimate Objects, from 1979’s Freeze Frame, which used a keyboard to play a single, prerecorded vocal note), it’s tempting to regard Godley and Creme as mere tricksters.

They are clever, and eclectic in their range, from the Yello-esque Babies to the Steve Reichian synth-pop of 1981’s ghostly Under My Thumb. However, as 1985’s Cry attests, theirs is the amplified sound of two hearts beating strongly. They persisted until 1988, releasing their uneasily wonderful harmonica concerto apocalypse album Goodbye Blue Sky before lowering the curtain on their partnership.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.