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Supertramp - Crime Of The Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1506 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Despite a healthy respect for 'Bloody Well Right' and 'Dreamer' as a teenager, 'Crime of the Century' appeared very seldom on my record player in the 1970s. I was into fiery prog rock, and SUPERTRAMP's more gentle brand of art-rock, which seemed a thousand miles removed from prog, didn't hold my attention. Back then the music I listened to had to be full of drama, and I hated slick pop with a passion - exemplified, I thought, by the smooth saxophone that, along with the harmonica and piano, made up their trademark sound. To me they sounded like a poor man's PINK FLOYD, without the bite, perhaps a slightly more sophisticated 10CC. Or like an underdone ELTON JOHN, who, I thought at the time, was far more progressive than this lot. Faint praise.

My thoughts haven't really changed much. I respect this album. I acknowledge the satisfying concept, and applaud the way they weave it through the music without battering the listener over the head with it. It's certainly a quantum leap ahead of the mediocre 'Indelibly Stamped'. I appreciate the dual vocalist approach - in my view, two singer/songwriters are far better than one. But, cold fish that I am, it simply doesn't move me.

Perhaps this is illustrated by the fact that, despite owning this album since 1975, my favourite song remains 'Dreamer'. Not, I can assure you, because the other songs are beyond my grasp, but because there's a glorious kind of purity to the track, an ethereal quality apt to the lyrics, a great call and response section with a wonderfully stirring segue back to the main theme. They don't do pop like this nowadays, and I wish they did. I understand that proggers aren't supposed to like pop tracks, but dash it all, it's a thing of beauty. If I spy a shining diamond in a sea of gold, my eye is drawn to it. Other tracks, such as 'Hide in Your Shell' and 'If Everyone Was Listening' seem to be there just to make up the numbers. My frustration with this record was that the great ideas were underdeveloped. 'Bloody Well Right' was a fabulous intro crying out for a song. I imagined what a monster PINK FLOYD would have made of this album by deleting three or four of the tracks and expanding the rest. Sigh.

As I decline from my pomp and enter my dotage, I begin to appreciate tracks like 'School', 'Rudy' and 'Crime of the Century', particularly the latter, with its clattering piano, immense percussion and staggering finale, though nothing will convince me that 'Asylum' is anything but schmaltz. Even so, I find the album falls well short of masterpiece status, though it does have a few impressive moments. Perhaps one day it will all 'click' for me, though after thirty-odd years I somehow doubt it.

Pity me, friends.

russellk | 4/5 |


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