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

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.54 | 307 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Summer of content

Supertramp were always going to have a mighty challenge on their hands to follow up the excellent "Crime of the century". With "Crisis.." they head in a mellower direction, which means that when compared to its illustrious predecessor, this album sounds somewhat weak. To record the album, the band relocated to Los Angeles in the summer of 1975, hence the beach scene photo of the band on the back cover. The title was taken from a line in the film "The day of the jackal" but is more famously remembered in the UK through the 1979 "Winter of discontent". The Sun newspaper's front page headline reflected the apparent complacency of Jim Callaghan, the then Prime Minister, to the situation (the paper probably borrowing from the Supertramp album title). The title also reflected the band's growing desperation for a title for the album!

Although all the songs here are credited to the song writing partnership of Hodgson and Davies, the two never actually wrote together after the first Supertramp album. That is not to say there were not joint compositions, many songs were, but it was often a case of combining the verses of one writer, with the choruses of the other. The actually song writing credit can usually be identified by who is singing. In the case of "Crisis..", Roger dominates the vocals, Rick singing lead on just three tracks plus sharing lead with Roger on "Just a normal day".

The first three songs are pretty standard Supertramp fare, "Sister Moonshine" possibly having singles potential. The later "Poor boy" also falls into this category. It is when we get to "A soapbox opera" that we find a real Supertramp classic. The song, which has a passing similarity to "Hide in your shell" features orchestra and choir in a delightfully melodic, progressively structured piece of excellence. This song alone makes the album an essential listen.

"Another man's woman" also has a more complex structure and arrangement, varying from a funky pop chorus to slower big sounding verses. The overall pop sound belies the progressive nature of the song. "Lady" will be the best known song on the album, and the only one which was a major hit single from it. The song, which is clearly from the Roger Hodgson songbook, is in the "Dreamer" mould with staccato piano and fine vocal harmonies.

"Just another normal day" is an unusual duet between Davies and Hodgson, with conversational lyrics. When Davies sings "Well I just feel that every minute's wasted, my life is unreal and anyway I guess I'm just not rated ..., that's how I feel" to which Hodgson responds " Well I just don't know the reason, I don't know what to say. It just seems a normal day and I've got to live my own life. I just can't spare the time, but you've got strange things on your mind." one wonders whether this is mere fantasy, or if the cracks which would lead to Roger's departure are beginning to show. The song has a melancholy, bluesy flavour with further orchestration and some inspired sax. It has to rate as one of the band's most unjustly overlooked pieces.

"The meaning" features a striking Hodgson vocal the upbeat melody and synthesiser backing sounds combining in a song to put a smile on your face. The album closes with "Two of us", another Roger song. This time we have a soft, reflective, acoustic song with effective organ backing. It makes for a superb ending.

"Crisis what crisis" is an unfairly under appreciated album. Admittedly, it lacks the consistency of "Crime of the century", some of the tracks here being a bit by the numbers. It does however feature some truly inspired moments, which alone make this an album to savour.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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