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Common Knowledge

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Album Review

10cc might well have been the most brilliantly inventive British band of the '70s but, by the '80s, few people cared about that; neither did they raise an eyebrow when Graham Gouldman, fresh from the group's 1983 split, teamed with L.A. singer/songwriter Andrew Gold in a new band, World in Action. An album was written and recorded, but when their first single, "Don't Break My Heart," slipped straight into the dumper, they changed the name to Common Knowledge and tried again. "Victoria" was no more fortunate than its predecessor and, while the duo would remain together and (third time's a charm) finally enjoy some success as Wax, the original album was shelved. It would be 15 years before it finally surfaced, padded out with two further songs from the same sessions ("Big Fat Baby" and "Heartbeat to Heartbeat") and three new songs ("Sometimes," the Stephen Bishop co-write "Shanghai Moon," and "First Time in Love"), recorded at Gold's home studio in 1997-1998. The result is a fascinating, if not necessarily brilliant,collection. It is certainly scarred by many of the difficulties that haunted the latter-day 10cc, with both players keeping a far closer eye on what they thought their audience might demand, as opposed to what they themselves were interested in; at the same time, however, it is definitely an improvement on the studio overkill that scarred their subsequent Wax albums, and so Common Knowledge takes its place in the discography as a prototype that actually wipes the floor with the finished thing.

Common Knowledge, Wax
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