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Supertramp - Brother Where You Bound  CD (album) cover

BROTHER WHERE YOU BOUND

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.70 | 229 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Warning: Adding David Gilmour to your album may make it awesome.

Supertramp loses their key member and still manages one of their best works. This is the rare case of a progressive band somehow managing to bear such burdens as the loss of a member and the arrival of the 80s right after a flopped album and do it with such grace. This is likely Supertramp's most progressive outing to date, and it may not be as fluffy as their previous albums, but that's a welcome change in a band such as this. All of the songs are fantastic, the album hosts no weak tracks, synthesizers run rampant, but the 80s seem to have actually given these synths shape and structure instead of making it sound like... well, the 80s. It's too bad that Supertramp wouldn't ever follow up on this sound, because that would have been one tough force to reckon with.

This album still meets with controversy. This is likely due to the lack of Hodgeson, and therefor the lack of fluffyness and high-pitched vocals. This is not the Supertramp we once knew. Listen with an open ear, and be prepared for the darkness, because this new Supertramp delivers the same punch in a different guise.

The album starts with the saxophone driven Cannonball. A great track that shows that Davies can still handle the vocals all by himself. A good piano bit opens the song and sets the pace for the rest of the album. Throughout the song the piano and sax mix nicely and produce something truly magnificent. The song is a bit faster than Supertramp is used to, and features a great keyboard solo right smack dab in the middle that always manages to run a chill down the listener's spine. This is a great track and a great way to start kick off the album.

Still in Love was obviously the prime choice for the album's single. Good saxxy intro leads into the nice drum beat and vocal melody that's still catchy even nowadays. The sax's a little bit more in the background for this track, but that's made up for with a great sax solo at about the 1:55 mark. good backing vocals on the chorus that could have been cheesy but really aren't. This is the single that other bands wish they could do.

A lullaby-like intro opens the beautiful track that is No Inbetween. Great piano accompanies Davies for a couple of minutes, and beautiful, both of them. It's near the end of the song where the track really picks up, and really it's still low-key, but there's a nice little sax solo right at the end after the piano melodies swish and swirl around for a bit and right at the end the track comes full-circle and we're right where we started. Then, at the echo of Davies voice, the song ends as peacefully as it began. Beautiful.

Piano accompanied by a crowd cheering and the entrance of some harsh synths... Supertramp has rarely opened a song better. Better Days is a miliatry-paced song that is one of the album's highlights, with a harsh synth and a harsh beat with some harsh vocals this is definitely a different side of the Tramp than we're used to. 2:27 even sees a Tull like flute solo that fits surprisingly well into the mix as well as some radio-spoken word at 4:30-ish that only further betters the song (and this is during a great sax solo no doubt). The song ends shortly thereafter, but the theme is carried on into the next track.

The Supertramp epic, Brother Where You Bound, is a track that shows the band (successfully) exploring ground they had not yet charted. This song shows the band performing better, writing sharper and being generally darker than ever before. Davies does a great job on vocals, and delivers some truly great performances. The guitar is also brought more forward than Supertramp ever has, with some great crunches near the beginning until the song turns into a mechanically-driven statement from the band. And so it goes, up and down, human to machine, sax to piano to guitar. Add in some truly puzzling lyrics that really make one think until we're delivered to the incredibly capable hands of David Gilmour who makes his appearance after the song apocalypses itself and goes almost silent for a couple of seconds. Enter a very very well done Floyd-esque solo as Gilmour makes his very anticipated appearance. This goes on for a couple of minutes as Gilmour proceeds to lull the audience with some very ambient music and then hands them back to Davies to finish off the song just as powerfully, if not more, than the song started as some quick and dark sax/guitar take the song away. If you've ever doubted Supertramp's progressive power, you've never heard this song.

Every Open Door codas the album, almost in an anthemy kind of way. Definitely not the album's highpoint, but a nice outro that's not too long one the less. Some great delivery by Davies makes this otherwise average song pretty good.

Conclusion:

And so comes to close the next best thing to Crime of the Century. Definitely an overlooked album, and this may be due to it's lack of Hodgeson, iffy cover art, or simply the fact that it was made in the 80s. Let none of these things fool you, this is one amazing album, and after a couple unbiased listens maybe you'll think so too. Recommended to all, 5 stars, and Supertamp definitely deserves it.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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