10cc – Deceptive Bends – Listening in Depth

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Deceptive Bends.

We’ve long been huge fans of this album both musically and sonically. It’s the kind of recording where the sound JUMPS out of the speakers. It reminds me of Crime Of The Century that way. It’s also one of the most DYNAMIC popular recordings I know of. If this album doesn’t wake up your system, it’s time to scrap it and start over! Musically it’s one of my all time favorite albums, a real Desert Island disc. 

One of the many elements that combine to push this album well beyond the bounds of most popular recordings is the thought and care that went into the soundstaging. Listen to the stereo separation on any track — the sound of each instrument has been carefully considered within the context of the arrangement and placed in a specific location within the soundfield for a reason — usually that reason is for MAXIMUM EFFECT.

That’s why we LOVE 10cc. Their recordings from this era are an audiophile dream come true. Compare that to some of the stereo mixes for the Beatles albums, where an instrument or vocal seems to panned to one channel or another not because it SHOULD be, but because it COULD be. With 10cc those hard-left, hard-right effects make the songs JUMP. They call attention to themselves precisely because the band is having a blast in the studio, showing off all the tricks they have up their sleeves. They want you to get as big a kick out of hearing them as they did conjuring them up.

Pop Lunatics

This is no recreation of a live musical event, nor is it trying to be one. It’s a pair of pop lunatics let loose in their own multi-track studio doing whatever the hell they damn well please with songs they wrote and on which they play all the instruments (with the exception of some of the drum parts). That’s why this recording has such energy — it’s two guys in their very own candy store havin’ a ball, with no one around to tell them they can’t.

In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Good Morning Judge

There’s a wonderful guitar duel in this song, but notice how the guitar in the right channel is softer than the one in the left. It’s the same way on every copy we played, so it must be that way on the tape. The guitar in the left channel is louder so it wins.

The Things We Do for Love

A big hit for the band on both sides of the pond, and as such, there’s always a touch of radio EQ to the lead vocals on this track. If you have an suitably transparent copy you’ll be able to hear that the background vocals actually sound much more natural. They’re tonally correct, assuming your copy is right enough in the first place to let you hear it.

Marriage Bureau Rendezvous

This track has wonderful Tubey Magical Tillermanesque guitars. They sound out of this world on a copy with the kind of clarity and sweetness found on the best pressings.

People in Love
Modern Man Blues

Side Two

Honeymoon With B Troop

Amazing DEMO DISC SOUND on the best copies! Some of the punchiest sound we have ever heard bar none.

I Bought a Flat Guitar Tutor

This track has a richer, more relaxed sound than most of the rest of the album. The sparse instrumentation allows the various elements more room to breathe. On a Hot Stamper copy even the whistling will sound full-bodied.

This is Analog Magic at its best. The sound is effortless, completely natural, and totally free from any hint of hi-fi-ishness. Not one out of a hundred rock records has a track this well recorded.

As long as it’s not too bright. If it is it will spit like crazy.

You’ve Got a Cold
Feel the Benefit, Pt. 1-3

A great song with a Beatles-influenced midsection. (10cc were heavily influenced by The Beatles and proud of it.)