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Supertramp - Brother Where You Bound CD (album) cover

BROTHER WHERE YOU BOUND

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.67 | 277 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Does the album cover art symbolise the evolution of Supertramp? With the blue monkey to the left representing the debut album, and the fully evolved man to the right representing the Brother Where You Bound? album itself? If that is the case it does not seem to capture accurately the great evolutionary jump they did with this album. This album is indeed very different from any previous one. And it sounds like it was made by a more fully evolved species of Supertramp.

This album must have been a big surprise when it came out in 1985! Roger Hodgson had left the band and who would have thought that they would be able to make this good an album without him? This album must have been a surprise for prog fans as well, for the (few?) ones who heard it. Since, in 1985 progressive rock was not at the top of its game, as we all know. Yet, Brother Where You Bound? is in many ways Supertramp's most progressive album ever, at least since Crime Of The Century (but I'm inclined to say ever). (And not just because the title track is a 16+ minute piece; I wouldn't even necessarily say that the title track is the most progressive track here).

For me personally, this is also one of Supertramp's best albums. I did not think so when I first heard it, but this has grown a lot on me since I first heard it. While Breakfast In America, for example, has an immediate appeal, you can quickly grow tired of it. Brother Where You Bound certainly does not have any of the hit potential of Breakfast In America, but you don't grow tired of it. I can hear this album over and over.

I would also say that this album rocks harder than most Supertramp albums, perhaps not the whole album, but there are some heavy parts of the title track, for example. Further, this album could be said to be much jazzier than earlier albums. However, this should not mislead us. I mean this is miles away from Return To Forever, or Brand X, or something like that. This is still a rock album, and a Supertramp album. Surely, some fans felt alienated by this album because it is very different to what they were used to, but for me this is still Supertramp and the best that could happen to the band. You have to move with evolution!

The cover art could also symbolise the evolution of the album itself. Then the blue monkey to the left would be Still In Love With You, which I feel is the least good song here. While the fully evolved man to the right would be Better Days and the title-track which are the best tracks here. Better Days features a Jethro Tull-like flute solo and some great keyboard work. There are also the typical Supertramp sax solos, only a bit longer on some tracks here. No Inbetween and the closer Ever Open Door are the two tracks most similar to the earlier stages of Supertramp's evolution. They are good, but not very memorable songs.

David Gilmore guests on the title track, which is an interesting and very progressive piece. There is even a short free-jazz improvisation in this track that wouldn't be out of place on a King Crimson album. However, King Crimson never did know when enough was enough; Supertramp does certainly not overindulge themselves here. It was very brave and adventurous for them to do that sort of thing within the Supertramp context, and I would have to judge it very successful.

Brother Where You Bound? was, I would say, the best Supertramp album since Crime Of The Century, or at least since Even In The Quietest Moments. It will never be quite the classic those albums are, but there is much for the prog fan to enjoy here. However, I cannot call it essential, so three (and a half if it was possible) stars is what it gets from me.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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