© Lol Creme/Kevin Godley/Mercury for the musical excerpt (and Creme/Godley for the cover?).
© Per A.J. Andersson for the text. Written December 2003, slightly updated November 2011.
The development of a new musical device eventually led to the split-in-half of one of the most inventive pop bands of the 70s. But it also led to one of the most unlikely of music albums ever.
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The device was the gizmo, a synthesized electric guitar capable of producing a whole new breed of sounds. The pop band was 10cc, a British foursome with a string of clever pop hits behind them. The album was "Consequences".
Kevin Godley and Lol Creme was the more eccentric half of 10cc. While Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman used their pop culture to pen genuinely entertaining pop hits such as "The Wall Street Shuffle" and "I'm Not in Love", Kevin and Lol used their talents in creating more challenging stuff à la "Donna" and "The Hospital Song". Often filled to the brim with tongue-in-cheek humour but made with an offbeat attitude that presented clear proof of artistry.
Godley and Creme had met already in art school, and their ambitions always lay both within and beyond music. Kevin's and Lol's mini-opera "Une nuit a Paris" was trimmed down to a "mere" eight and a half minute, to be able to fit in the pop LP format. Much to the chagrin of the ambitious duo.
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In the aftermath of "How Dare You", the 10cc LP of 1976, things happened. Kevin and Lol said they wanted to use some time discovering more of the abilities of their gizmo.
Somewhere along the way, the duo must have gotten so fond of the capabilities of the instrument, that the little project started to grow. What was originally meant to be a singles release demo for the gizmo eventually became a triple LP album!
In the meantime production had already started on 10cc' next album, and someone had to make a tough decision. Gouldman/Stewart wanted more cooperation from the rest of the group, which as it was didn't happen.
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So it was a split. 10cc continued as a band, but with a seriously modified lineup. And not without success (remember "Dreadlock Holiday"?). While Godley & Creme went on to make a name for themselves with a string of original albums. And additionally embracing the visual side of the trade as two of the most inventive pop video producers of the 80s and beyond.
The first of their albums was perhaps the most original of the lot. It was a nightmare for the marketing department of the record company, who quickly distilled a short version containing most of the actual songs on one disc. The rest of this triple disc set happened to be instrumental electronics and a strange playlet recorded with small means.
"Consequences" as a concept was loosely based on what 19th century American orator R. G. Ingersoll said about nature, a place where "there are neither rewards nor punishments - there are Consequences." Godley and Creme constructed an existential setting, using the gizmo's symphonic qualities. Playing as Mankind amidst a revengeful Mother Nature is a touching little foursome ensemble, trying to figure out how to best arrange a solid divorce, seated inside an office building in London's West End. And with the strange Mr Blint as an onlooker.
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This playlet was the creation of Peter Cook, a British comedian longtime associated with Dudley Moore. Cook's original sense of humour and British-styled understatement was exquisitely employed, with him playing all male characters by himself! He even used his own experience with drinking problems as a background for one of the characters involved...
The album was ridiculed by the press, and it nearly destroyed Godley & Creme's musical careers. Not even the authors themselves have since had much praise to bestow upon it. Yet "Consequences" retains to this day a cult following with its decidely original take of progressive pop/rock, mixing long instrumental features with musical comedy. There are always new things to learn about it, new facets to discover. And the fact that some very good pop songs are interwoven into it is no drawback. //
by Godley & Creme