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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis? CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.58 | 440 ratings

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4 stars As I mentioned in my review for "Crime ...", I purchased Crisis What Crisis? during a school trip to London in 76. It was a complete discovery (and what a good one !). I had seen them previously only once on the Belgian television mythical programme : PopShop (well known by the internauts) with their famous umbrellas.

"Second Offence" was considered as a possible album title by the band but ultimately rejected because it sounded so weak in comparison to "Crime's" title.

Rick Davies thought of "Crisis? What Crisis" as an album title simply because he ... couldn't think of a title! He recalls being devoid of ideas and therefore scribbling this phrase in one of his sketch books. Someone saw it and suggested it for the album title. The phrase is a common one in English. For example it was used in the UK in the 70s during the so-called "winter of discontent" when the economy was in crisis and manufacturers put employees on three day weeks to avoid closure. The cover design depicting an industrial waste land is a montage of about twelve different photos.

This album starts with "Easy does It" which is not really the kind of opener you should expect. Very quiet, mellow and short. Not the best song to start an album, I must say.

"Sister Moonshine" is fortunately a good follow-up : quite poppy but with beautiful arrangements. This is really the opener of the album. Good rythm but a bit too candid a song. The album has not really started yet. The great "Ain't Nobody But Me" is a typical Davies song : great piano, a bit jazzy. Maybe a bit "too middle of the road" but still a good track. The "Crime" sound is seriously repeated here. It is hard at times, but then some incredibly melodious chorus come and shake us. It is not a complex song : straitforward nice tune.

The interchange Davies / Hodgson goes on as if there were competing against each other. "A Soapbox Opera" is a wonderful song. It is full of melody, tenderness, melancholy. Maybe ... one of their sweetest song ever. It is, as the title reveals, almost an opera. It could have lasted for fifteen minutes though. So beautiful is this track. One of my all time fave from the Tramp. No less. No more. An awful lot of emotion emerges from this song. It almost sound as an "El Dorado" song (from ELO) which in terms of melody is IMO one of the standard in the industry. A GREAT moment.

Like Lenon and Mc Cartney, the one who writes the song is the singer. So, back to Davies for another great track. "Another Man's Woman" (of which the working title was ""Cheatin' Man". It is more complex than the average Supertramp production, it is a quite damned good song : piano is very dominating and the instrumental finale is just another fabulous moment of rock music and might justify why Supertramp might be categorized as prog band. Some other (very few though) titles from their repertoire might also range into the category. Vocals are superb, piano is great. The band is rocking alright at times. Do we need something more ?

B-side opens with Hodgson's "Lady" which is my fave here. Some "School" feelings ... Wonderful vocals as well as keyboard play (a la "Dreamer"). Magnificent piece of music.

To follow the logic, the next track shoud be a Davies one, but it is one of weakest of Crisis : "Poor Boy" is just an average song (almost ... poor). Only too brief good moments. The instrumental breaks, although sincerely jazzy, are not too bad.

Back to Roger for "Just a Normal Day" but not a normal song. It is pure melody (on par with the best Beatles or ELO ones). What a shivering tune !

"The Meaning" is the weakest Hodgson song of the album : poppy and not really inspired. I consider it as a transtion track for the wonderful closing number "Two of Us" : another superb melody. Some might find it a bit too quiet but it is a good way to close this beautiful album. Very few mistakes on this effort (maybe two). Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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