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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis? CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.58 | 440 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 1975, and the band had decamped to America to record the follow up to Crime Of The Century. The broken down Britain they left behind, the intensely hard job of making such an album, even to the point of the title itself, gives us Crisis, What Crisis?

There are some excellent tracks on this album, but, perhaps not surprisingly, it fails to live up to its illustrious immediate predecessor. The production itself is far more spartan, and, in retrospect, it has the feel and sound of a band drawing breath a little before moving on and finding their full mojo again on the subsequent two releases.

Sister Moonshine is, in my opinion, a vastly underrated Supertramp track, based around a mellow tune and whimsical Hodgson lyrics. Ain't Nobody But Me is also very good, perhaps coming closer than most to being a truly joint composition between Davies & Hodgson. What it doesn't have, and I think quite purposefully, is the pomp that would have characterised it on Crime.

There are two tracks, though, which absolutely rank as Supertramp classics, alongside wonders from more accessible and famous albums.

A Soapbox Opera is classic Hodgson. Symphonic, classical, catchy, and, most of all, sung and performed in a wave of such melancholy and yearning for a better world you almost weep listening to it. This is easily the track which comes closest to recreating the feel of Crime, and it is a wonder, exceptionally performed on the Live In Paris album. There is also a wonderful You Tube video of Hodgson performing it solo on his latest tour.

The album closer, Two Of Us, is also very special. Deliberately scaled back, I have always thought of this track as a paeon to the country that the two main protagonists left behind, and, in the face of that, so long as they always worked together, then all would be alright. Actually, in hindsight, this was spot on, because neither Hodgson or Davies prospered commercially or creatively after the band split. A fantastic way to close an album, this is one of my all time favourite pieces of music.

Elsewhere, there is still much to admire. The bluesy love song, Another Man's Women, is classic Rick Davies, and, as with much of his output, is given greater punch and status by the band backing him and his marvellous piano. The sax by Helliwell is especially impressive.

On side two, the closer aside, what we have is a collection of decent Supertramp tracks, but that's about all they are. Lady is about as close to throwaway as it comes. Poor Boy opens and closes with Davies doing a neat impression of a chicken being throttled for Sunday lunch, but there is a very pleasant tune in between, with Davies at his most melancholic. Just A Normal Day features some gorgeous woodwind and orchestration, whilst The Meaning is one of Hodgson's least impressive creations, and becomes deeply annoying at times.

The highspots on this album do definitely outweigh the low points. There are some exceptional tracks, and the musicianship is never anything less than brilliant. It is not, however, the place to start your exploration of Supertramp. In fact, it is probably the last of the "classic" era to begin such a journey.

Three stars. A good album, but far better had preceded it, and was certainly to come.

lazland | 3/5 |


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