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Supertramp - Slow Motion CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.93 | 150 ratings

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4 stars In 2002, Supertramp, again without Hodgson, tried one more time to make a studio album. "Slow Motion" would be that album, and it would see a turn to a more smooth and jazzy groove. After the album "Brother Where You Bound", the band was having problems getting both the sales back up and the public interested in new music. "Free as a Bird" took a turn to a commercial and more digital sound, "Some Things Never Change" saw Davies try to bring back the old sound of the band again, and recruited another lead singer to try to bring in more variety to the sound, and, even though it was a better album, it still wasn't up to the standards of their more successful years, and at times seemed to be trying to hard to copy some of their more popular songs. Changing to a more relaxed and smooth sound was a definite improvement, and that is what happened with "Slow Motion".

Singer Mark Hart returned for this album, and again his efforts are not as up front as Davies, in fact he is used more as a background singer here, but on this album that is okay because the music is much more enjoyable, upbeat, and yet relaxed. The opener "Slow Motion" just flows along so well and is the best song that the band has put out since "Brother Where You Bound", and that upbeat and catchy rhythm continues with the following 2 tracks. "Over You" shows the return of the band trying new styles and giving their unique spin on it. This track sounds like a slow doo-wop style track with a hard beat, not unlike the older track "My Kind of Lady" from the album "Famous Last Words", but even better, with a nice sax hook and even a jazz guitar towards the end of the track. This is more like the Supertramp we used to love, and the track doesn't sound forced.

The move towards a more "Steely Dan" style of jazz/rock fusion really fits this incarnation of Supertramp quite well, and it would seem that the band was feeling more like themselves again, and the more forward use of improvised trumpets and saxes only adds to the enjoyment of the album. This really works on the track "Tenth Avenue Breakdown", a track that nears the 10 minute mark. This song brings together the peppy and bouncy rhythm of drums and keyboards and the hooks of the brass, especially in the last half of the track, and this brings about memories of "Child of Vision" from "Breakfast in America" when the long instrumental section starts, and then even adds in a guitar solo. "A Sting in the Tail" goes for a blues style and brings back the haunting harmonica that we've heard used before in more popular Supertramp tracks. The sexy sax and trumpet solo is the perfect instrumental break for this track.

They even include an older song on this album from way back before "Crime of the Century" that never got put on an album, that track is "Goldrush" which was used to open their concerts before CotC was released. The last track "Dead Man Blues" is another highlight for the album, with a bit more guitar added in than what we are used to in the classic Supertramp sound, and the track again has the slow bluesy, yet catchy style that really works well on this album.

This would end up being the last studio album for Supertramp, which is a shame because it seemed they were getting their stride back even without Hodgson, but the sales just weren't there anymore. Davies and Hodgson made attempts to work together again, and there were some close calls, but in the end, one or the other would back off. After the release of this album, the band broke up again, but they have returned in various incarnations with Davies in the lead throughout the years, but just for touring purposes. In more recent years, Davies has had health problems, but he has apparently recovered from these issues and has been touring again, but no plans for new albums are currently in the works.

I have no problems playing this album often along with the more classic Supertramp albums as I find it quite enjoyable, and the best of the band's final three albums. The more I hear it, the more I love it, and, even though there isn't a lot of progressive style here, it reminds me more of their classic years even if it has more of a jazz edge to it. On the first few listens, I would have only considered it a "good" album, but it has really grown on me in a good way, where the two albums before this one never really caught my interest as much. This one has become a favorite, still a notch below their best albums, but still better than "Famous Last Words" which was the last album with Hodgson. I can easily give this 4 stars, but it took some time for me to really appreciate it, even though right from the beginning, I knew it was better than anything they had done for a while. It's an underrated and mostly ignored album which should actually get more attention than what it has. It just had the misfortune of following after two weaker albums. But it will have you wishing Supertramp would come back again.

TCat | 4/5 |


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