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10cc - Alive CD (album) cover




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3.15 | 8 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars post-Beatles Pop Rock played live with passion

I should say up front that I am not a fan of this band at all, and I rated most of their most popular studio albums with two stars. In many ways 10cc were similar to bands like Supertramp and Electric Light Orchestra in building firmly on the musical foundation established by The Beatles during the second half of the 60's. Seemingly oblivious of the Symphonic and Eclectic Prog movements in the early 70's, these bands did slightly "progressive" post-Beatles Pop Rock. Even the music of the Alan Parsons Project is distinctly more progressive than this. Like ELO, 10cc too seems to have suffered from a kind of Beatles complex, clearly represented on this live album with a couple of Beatles covers (the version I have heard has only one; Across The Universe). If this music can be considered experimental it is only so within the rather restrictive framework of the mainstream Pop/Rock of the times. Indeed, whatever progressive tendencies found in this band's music has probably more to do with the general musical climate of the decade they found themselves in rather than with any genuine "Prog" ambitions on the part of the musicians. Experiments were considered fashionable in the first half of the 70's and many mainstream artists jumped on the bandwagon.

While most progressive and Prog Related bands from the 70's were albums bands, 10cc was always more of a song band. This explains why their studio albums are quite tedious listening even if there are often one or two good songs on them. Releasing a live album offers the opportunity for bands of this kind to compile many of their better songs onto one disc (or two, depending on which version of this album you have.) And this seems to have been successful in this particular case as this live album is the best 10cc album I have heard! My favourite song here is clearly the 14 minute plus Feel The Benefit from the Deceptive Bends album (which was already before my favourite 10cc song). This is also the closest the band got to Symphonic Prog. Also the timeless hit song I'm Not In Love as well as I'm Mandy, Fly Me and Wall Street Shuffle are good songs. The Reggae tune Dreadlock Holiday is extremely silly and the low point of the album for me. 10cc's lyrics are overall very, very silly. Which is, of course, the band's trademark.

The album tends to drag a little bit in the middle (and I'm talking about the single disc version), but overall this album is quite nice. The sound quality is very good for a live album and the band play with an energy and passion that I don't find on the band's studio albums. The guitar sound is surprisingly razor for this band. Having anything at all by 10cc is not something I consider essential in a Prog collection. But if I play another 10cc album again (for other purposes than doing a review) it will probably be this one.

Three stars is a rather generous but probably deserved rating!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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