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Godley & Creme - Freeze Frame CD (album) cover

FREEZE FRAME

Godley & Creme

 

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3.33 | 29 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Cold as ice

Two years on from the ambitious but ultimately flawed "Consequences", and Godley and Crème have reached their third album. Here the duo decide to revert to the recipe which worked so well for their former band 10CC, with a selection of sophisticated pop songs.

The opening "An Englishman in New York" puts a jaunty melody to some highly contentious and cynical lyrics. The song sounds like something lifted straight from "Sheet music" or "The original soundtrack", but listen closer and you'll hear lyrics such as "They're picketing synagogues and claiming that Hitler was King of the Jews". I don't doubt for a minute the sincerity with which the words are written, but for me they leave a sour taste while juxtaposing with the sonic mood of the piece.

"Random brainwave" and "I pity inanimate objects" effectively form a two part track which explores more progressive territories, the distorted vocals being used in the form of an additional instrument; the lyrics are all but indecipherable. Phil Manzanera makes his first appearance on the album here, playing guitar and contributing to the song-writing. For me the track does not work, but one has to admire the effort which has gone into it.

The title track returns to a more melodic style, the song being similar to the opening "An Englishman in New York". This is though one of the most accessible tracks on the album.

Things turn rather strange again for "Clues", a sparse rhythmic number with semi- chanted vocals. "Brasilia" maintains the understated sound, a feeling which is rather at odds with the textured layers we expect from G&C. Lyrically, the track appears to be an attempt to highlight the coldness of Brasil's capital, observing "Show me Brasilia and I'll show you no Mardi Gras". Ironic really that G&C should focus on this given the coldness of this album.

"Mugshots" picks up the pace and the volume again, but the constant repetition in a deep south drawl of the song title is to my ears simply an irritation. The album closes with "Get well soon", an ode to Radio Luxembourg (who broadcast pop music to the UK at a time when it was hard to find on domestic radio). The song describes listening to the station while ill(!) and parallels this with the station's ultimate demise. For those of us who were there at the time it provokes fond memories, but for others the point may be missed. Paul McCartney is credited with providing backing vocals on the song, but you'll be doing well if you can actually identify them.

Once again, I find with Godley and Crème that they are either unwilling or incapable of adding genuine emotion to their music. There is no doubt about the talent on show here, or about the attention to detail which has gone into each song. There is though something very clinical about the whole experience which serves to act as a barrier between the artist and their audience. It is almost as if Godley and Crème are building their own Wall while challenging the listener to find fault with the album, confident that it will not be possible to do so.

The absence of any of the duo's best known singles renders the album as a whole unfamiliar and aloof. Fans of 10CC may take pleasure from the familiar harmonies and styles, but even they may have difficulty in making any real connection with this album. Credit where it is due though to G&C for not simply attempting to make an album of hit singles.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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