10cc – Deceptive Bends

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A Demo Disc for Bass

A Demo Discs for Dynamics

A Demo Discs for Energy

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, this huge, lively copy of Deceptive Bends will be very hard to beat – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • A longstanding member of our Top 100 – it’s one of the most DYNAMIC, ENERGETIC, well recorded pop albums we know of
  • “Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman kept the group alive and turned in a surprisingly solid album with 1977’s Deceptive Bends. It may lack the devil-may-care wackiness that popped up on previous 10cc albums, but it makes up for it by crafting a series of lush, catchy pop songs that are witty in their own right. All in all, Deceptive Bends is the finest achievement of 10cc’s post-Godley and Creme lineup and well worth a spin for anyone who enjoyed Sheet Music or The Original Soundtrack.”

This is an AMAZINGLY WELL RECORDED album, a record I would have no problem ranking in the Top Rock Recordings of All Time! We’re tough graders on this album because we know how good it can sound, which is SHOCKINGLY GOOD.

What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Maximum 10cc Effect

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.

What We’re Listening For on Deceptive Bends

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Pop Lunatics

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.

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.

Track Commentary

The Track Listing tab above will take you to an extensive song by song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen for advice.

TRACK LISTING

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.)

AMG  Review

When Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left 10cc in 1976 to pursue a solo career, many thought it was the death knell for the group. However, Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman kept the group alive as a duo (with the assistance of percussionist Paul Burgess) and turned in a surprisingly solid album with 1977’s Deceptive Bends.

It may lack the devil-may-care wackiness that popped up on previous 10cc albums, but it makes up for it by crafting a series of lush, catchy pop songs that are witty in their own right. Deceptive Bends also produced a pair of notable hits for the group: “Good Morning Judge” told the comical tale of a career criminal over a hook-laden, surprisingly funky pop backing while “The Things We Do for Love” was an irresistible Beatles pastiche that showcased 10cc’s mastery of pop vocal harmonies.

“People in Love,” a surprisingly straightforward ballad built on a gorgeous string arrangement, also became a modest chart success. The remainder of the material doesn’t stand out as sharply as these hits, but each of the tracks offers up plenty of naggingly catchy pop hooks, oodles of catchy riffs, and surprising twists in their arrangements.

Highlights among the non-hit tracks include “Marriage Bureau Rendezvous,” a satire of dating services set to a lilting soft rock melody, and “You’ve Got a Cold,” a portrait of illness-influenced misery set to a percolating pop melody.

All in all, Deceptive Bends is the finest achievement of 10cc’s post-Godley and Creme lineup and well worth a spin for anyone who enjoyed Sheet Music or The Original Soundtrack.

Listening Test

On side two the tonal balance is key. If there is any boost to the top end the vocals on track two will SPIT LIKE CRAZY.

This is also a good test for how well your cartridge and arm are doing their jobs. Sibilance is a bitch. The best pressings, with the most extension up top and the least amount of aggressive grit and grain mixed into the sound, played using the best front ends, will keep it to a minimum. VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate adjustments are critical to reducing the spit in your records.

We discuss the sibilance problems of MoFi records all over the site. Have you ever read Word One about this problem elsewhere? Of course not. Audiophiles and audiophile reviewers just seem to put up with these problems, or ignore them, or — even worse — simply fail to recognize them at all.

Play around with your table setup for a few hours and you will no doubt be able to reduce the sibilance problems on your favorite test and demo discs. All your other records will thank you for it too. (Especially your Beatles records. Many Beatles pressings are spitty, and the MoFi Beatles pressings are REALLY bad.)

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