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Supertramp - Crime Of The Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1454 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Supertramp is a band that's been part of my musical consciousness for quite a while now, with numerous background plays of many of the big songs from the band, and quite a few of the lesser known ones as well and still they never stirred up enough interest for me to acquire a full album. And due to a mere whim rather than any real interest Crime of the Century worked itself up to being one of my most intensely played albums ever.

It is striking. Because in that lies much of the nature of Crime of the Century's success for me. In being one thing when only giving it a glance, and then changing kaleidoscopically into something a lot more interesting that just wasn't there before, when you finally decide to give it a closer look. And potentially 'dangerous' for the same reason, when blurring the already diffuse line that separates progressive music from non-progressive music.

What first got me was the atmosphere on the album; bouncy, in an aesthetically stripped - almost cold - way that together with the sense of playful innocence adds up to a strange musical experience. The instrumentation also contributes with something of a stranger vibe. Clarinet, saxophone, percussion, harmonica, Theremin-like effects and pianos, pianos and more pianos (of both the acoustic and electric variants) enriches the more basic structures in that carefree, goofy style the band masters so well. Most of the songs really don't fit under the moniker 'intricate', but yet, via clever use of twists and tweaks the end-result should be pleasing for any progfan. Another brilliant example of aligning planets or pure skill that leads to this can be found in Pavlov's Dog's epic Pampered Menial - Crime of the Century can now join the illustrious bunch of records where musical micro-management is just as important as the bigger structural variations of the music.

Guitar rarely makes any flashy appearance, content with providing effects, shy textures and a poignant chord here and there for most of the time. Naturally there are exceptions to the rule, like the rocking Bloody Well Right and some soloing. But a personal favourite will always be the gorgeous symphonic and string arrangements that sweep down through the rest of the music - forceful like a cavalry chock or smooth like a breeze - to a great dramatic effect, always accentuating more than dominating in spite of their inherent musical weight. Supertramp is first and foremost a crossover band after all.

The lyrics are definitely of the darker sort, dealing with insecurity and instability in life. These dark lyrical themes quite frankly collides with the musically lighter side of some of the songs on Crime of the Century. But instead of destroying the experience, it enhances just what the texts are portraying, making it even more sinister and disturbing. In some way this duality is seen in the shared vocal duties of David Hodgson and Richard Davies as well. They have very distinct voices, full of power in their own individual ways, be it in a deeper, warmer tone or a higher, more fragile one.

It's hard not to be impressed by this record and the ease by which it navigates through the popular music styles of it's time, incorporating all the pieces that fits and leaving out all that which doesn't. I believe that by accomplishing that it rises as a monumental album of the 70s, regardless of style, and thus one that should be in any collection even vaguely interested in capturing that period of time.

A stunning display of a marriage between song writing prowess, wild ideas and mass appeal.

4,25 (I know. Pfft!) stars, and would have been an instant 5 hadn't it been for Dreamer and parts of If Everyone Was Listening.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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