10cc - Before During After album review
A treasure chest of delights for the 10cc obsessive
Given the all-encompassing nature of 2012’s Tenology, a robust four-CD and one-DVD affair that comprehensively covered the Manchester band’s entire career as well as marking their 40th anniversary, one might wonder where there is to go with a new four-disc set.
Subtitled ‘The Story Of 10cc’, what this new collection does, aside from collating the band’s biggest hits, is explore where the band came from prior to their formation in 1972, and where they headed following Kevin Godley and Lol Creme’s departures in 1976 and then the Graham Gouldman/ Eric Stewart line-up grinding to a halt in 1984. It overlooks the 90s reunions (largely forgettable in themselves), and Gouldman’s own carrying on of the 10cc flame, yet worry not: for there is still gold to be discovered in this particular chest.
Disc three is very much for diehards only
Opening with a ‘Best of’, the first disc is somewhat perfunctory and serves probably as little more than a contractual obligation. It’s a very similar tracklisting as you’ll find on countless 10cc compilations - Rubber Bullets, Life Is A Minestrone, The Wall Street Shuffle, Art For Art’s Sake, etc… - highlighting more of the pop side of the band rather than the proggier side, the combination of which, of course, gives 10cc their superbly structured art rock sound.
Things get interesting with disc two, What We Did Next, which explores various projects that the original four members have indulged in since. Alas Godley And Creme’s superb debut Consequences is again overlooked, but we get the expected art pop hits, whilst Gouldman’s AOR project with Andrew Gold, Wax, holds up well. There are also two tracks from the Gouldman/Godley GG06 project, previously only available for download, and the closest thing we’ve had to a genuine 10cc reunion of any kind in recent years. And there are two tracks from Producers, Trevor Horn’s collective of famous pals that features Lol Creme on guitar.
Disc three’s collection of early Strawberry Studio related material is very much for diehard fans only, but the final disc offers a few gems, not least two tracks from Ramases’ rare 1971 debut Space Hymns. Gouldman’s No Milk Today, a hit for Herman’s Hermits, displays his pop prowess and Hotlegs’ Neanderthal Man displays the sense of adventure at least Godley and Creme would add to the band.
There’s a two disc set that features just the hits and the later years tracks, which some may find a little more palatable, but for the 10cc obsessive, these four discs serve as a treasure trove of delights.