Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Godley & Creme – Snack Attack

   The one and only artistic project known as Godley & Creme has its own history in which various and contradictive elements connected as processes were oscillating like waves. After periods of great creativity they were producing some more schematic, popular songs and later again were back to experiments mixing sounds and structures of progressive music and popular culture. The two former musicians of 10cc – soft rock super group of 1970’s – the duo of Kevin Godley and Lol Creme was from its beginning determined by some esthetic ideas and market segment. If most of rock songs have its formal extensions in jam-like improvisations, in smoother songs of art rock main narrative means were lyrics and arrangements. And main ambition of Godley & Creme duo was to look for new means of expression while many of their listeners were old 10cc fans.
   Unfortunately their most ambitious project Consequences become instant failure. Critics were negatively oriented towards musicians whom they blamed for breaking down the 10cc. Public was rather disappointed with a three record concept album with only few songs. In such situation shortly after debut they withdraw from radical ideas of their first album. In second album L Godley & Creme have showed some balanced songs in original polystylistyc arrangements. Third Godley & Creme album Freeze Frame from 1979 was even bigger success being a reference to old 10cc style. In next LP published in 1981 Ismism, Godley & Creme had run some of their L ideas again. Nine songs, with extensively discursive texts as much poetic as ironic and original sound solutions, makes Godley & Creme fourth album potential blockbuster.

Godley & Creme – Snack Attack (1982)

   And in fact this album was their greatest success, even bigger than Freeze Frame. In European charts of 1981 two singles from Ismism were relatively high, peaking in UK chart on 3rd position in September 1981 (Under your Thumb) and 7th position in November 1981 (Wedding Bells). Whole Ismism album was peaking 29th in UK album chart. Ballades and narrative songs with strong rhythmic and instrumental background were in some cases clearly in New Wave style. These songs were perfectly matching tendencies in popular music of 1981, where harsh post-punk sounds (Snack Attack, Joe’s Camel) and dance rhythms (Ready for Ralph) were often reduced to synthpop (The Problem). Sarcasm can be sparkling idea of narrative, almost short story lyrics (Lonnie) but in fact satire never bites too much and sometimes changes into touching factor (Wedding Bells). Some songs are reviving clichés of early sixties (Sale of the Century), in some this playing with tradition shows quite new sound of saxophone riffs which in next decades would be back in various contexts. Played by Bimbo Acock saxophones are on featured position in Ready for Ralph and Lonnie. Most interesting narrative piece is closing album The Party, continuing ideas tested on L album and in style of radio play, this is again a reason for appreciating Godley & Cream ideas.

Godley & Creme – Ready for Ralph (1981)

   The Ismism album was recorded at Godley & Creme’s Lymehouse Studios in Leatherhead, during two months April and May of 1980 and published more than a year later in October 1981. In UK it was released with nice concept cover where names and title were made out of holes punched through the white cardboard cover and visible through these holes contrasting colors of inner sleeve. In later editions cover was black and dots were printed rouge and white. And such clear idea was overwhelmed by one of the ugliest covers in the whole history of 12 inch vinyl records in American edition of this album. Even the title Snack Attack was horrific in its insolent simplicity. Thirty two years later it is still hard to understand who and why decided to publish this interesting record in US in such a horrible shape. Maybe it was a kind of revenge for economic liberalism, maybe a kind of distorting mirror of American dream, but whatever it was, even in early 1980’s this was just ugly, being definitely very bad front for product containing such intriguing music. Three and a half star for Ismism and whole star less for Snack Attack horrible cover.

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