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Supertramp - Crime Of The Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1457 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This was my entry album for Supertramp. I bought it on a school trip to London in February 1976. What a shock, my boy ! The fantastic pair of composers and singers are at their best. This golden era will last for about five years before the decline and the personal problems between Hodgson and Davies will take place. But let us start first with the positive side. Straight from the first notes of "School" you know that something big is going to happen. There is no crime to love this album. The harmonica (or mouth organ) intro la "Once Upon A Time In The West" is just fabulous, as the whole track is. Vocals are superb, piano and background guitars are so right in tune. A marvelous song. One of my Supertramp fave, all time.

The jazzy "Bloody Well Right" is a good transition track with good sax work. Rick wrote it on his Aunt Lillian's piano in Swindon. He originally learnt to play on this specific piano...

It leads us to "Hide In Your Shell" which is a very melodious and passionate track. Vocal arragements are superb. The chorus with the sax in the background is a great moment in pop music. "Asylum" is a darker song about madness from Davies. It closes side one superbly.

One of their best known song "Dreamer" opens side two and is again a wonderful pop song with fabulous harmonies, keys / piano playing. Even if this song has been aired regularly on the radio, I still like it very much more than thirty years later. It is the type of song which you love at first listening. The dream goes on ...

"Rudy", another Davies track, is less pop and more sophisticated (probably the most elaborated track on this album). It has a rock-opera flair : rhythm changes, instrumental breaks, strange story. What a track !

"If Everyone Was Listening" is a light and easy listening tune with beautiful vocal harmonies. According to Bob Siebenberg, the very first Supertramp material anyone from the band heard broadcast on radio. Bob and his wife were browsing in a junk yard close to the house the band were renting when a woman pushing a baby's pram appeared. As she passed by, they realised that she was listening to a little transistor radio slung from the handles. What's more it was on and she was listening to "If Everyone Was Listening"! They stood transfixed and listened as she faded off into the distance. Bob claims it as his favourite song - no wonder !

It is a starter for the grand finale, the title track. Probably one of the less commercial of the album. It will close their concerts for quite a time with the final piano notes playing for ever (well, almost).

Although very much acclaimed on this site, the record was not unanimously apreciated in the rock press at the time of release. John Mendelsohn, from the UK Rolling Stone will write : "Virtually every track on this album seems to last twice as long as the actual music warrants, a vastly disproportionate amount of needle time seems to be devoted to pauses which, one guesses, the 'Tramps want us to find rivetingly portentous, but in fact are only tiresome. Because, in addition to appreciable instrumental dexterity, they seem to possess the rare ability to harmonize handsomely. One is rendered sleepless by the desire to lock them in a room with the first few Beatles albums until they're convinced that it's possible to be as dynamic and atmospheric in two and-a-half minutes as in five.They ought, in addition to instructing their tape-op to allow no single track to last longer than 200 seconds, concentrate more on melody". I wonder how many stars this would have represented...

My opinion is that there is not a single weak track, several great songs and a few masterpieces. What else than a five stars rating would apply ?

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |


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