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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb value for some inspired moments, 8 Jun. 2009
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This review is from: Birds Of Prey...Plus/History Mix Volume 1...Plus (Audio CD)
'Birds of Prey/History Mix, Vol. 1' is the third in Edsel Records' trio of expanded and remastered pairings of Godley and Creme albums (No 'Goodbye Blue Sky' as of yet though). Together - and with bonus tracks - the material in this collection could be described as the duo's synth-pop phase.

Anyone familiar with Godley and Creme's output will be acutely aware that their ideas and songs veer in quality. They've been known for their musical experimentation, often employing meandering arrangements and odd (sometimes lame) jokes. Concurrently, the pair would produce the occasional pure pop delight - exactly the sort of thing they cranked out regularly as part of their former group; 10cc. I think it's funny that the duo ran away from their faultless pop-smarts, because when they did do pop they could marry the most peculiar instrumentation or sublime humour with a faultless melody. 1981's 'Ismism' featured a pair of super-singles - 'Under Your Thumb' and 'Wedding Bells'- confirmed that their 10cc days pop writing was no fluke. 'Birds of Prey/History Mix, Vol. 1' in turn throws in a few delightful "hits".

In the scheme of things 'Birds of Prey' plays things quite straight, the songs are shorter and simpler than usually found on a Godley and Creme album. For a start there's none of Godley's half-decent rapping/spoken word to be found. The highlights can be found at the beginning of the record (Side One to be precise). 'My Body the Car' is a smart a capella track, while 'Sampson' has a fuzzy and skuzzy electronic mock-reggae arrangement. Godley turns in a great vocal on the single; 'Save a Mountain for Me' which brings together a chain-gang pastiche and big, clanging-eighties drums. The absolute highlight is actually 'The Worm and the Rattlesnake'. The song's clattering percussion with a thumping drum machine and hand claps moves with great momentum. The track could almost be classed as new wave and comes across like something halfway between Sparks and New Order.

'History Mix, Vol. 1' isn't a normal album, but is actually a remix album that condenses 25 years of Godley and Creme material. The majority of the album consists of two long mixes that weave numerous samples and song fragments over an abrasive drum machine. When it works which is mostly during 'Wet Rubber Soup' it is a fun and unique experience. When it doesn't the music can be really annoying.

Sandwiched in between the lengthy mixes is THAT song with THAT video. I'm referring to 'Cry', which is one of slickest songs of Godley and Creme's career and recalls 10cc's 'I'm Not in Love'. The connection between the two songs is made overt in the sampling of "Don't Cry" from the "Big boys don't cry" section of 10cc's hit. The song is phenomenal, in part because of a clean mix - courtesy of Trevor Horn - but also because Godley's vocal is one of his very best and most expressive. He really was too good a singer to be only doing backing vocals for 10cc.

The bonus tracks on the two discs are nice to have, but aren't anything too substantial. It is good to have 'Welcome to Breakfast Television' and the single mix of 'Cry', but will you really get that much out of three very similar versions of 'Golden Boy'? Additionally, the mix of 'Snack Attack' is actually the 'Ismism' album version, and not the 1987 remix; and edit of which appeared on the popular 'Changing Faces' compilation.

This double disc set isn't 100% quality but at such a low price it is completely worthwhile having. Get it if only for 'The Worm and the Rattlesnake' and the longer album mix of 'Cry'.
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Location: Bristol, UK

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