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Supertramp - Even In The Quietest Moments ... CD (album) cover

EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS ...

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.97 | 578 ratings

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rupert
4 stars "See the man with the lonely eyes, oh take his hand, you'll be surprised" ( "Give a little bit" - lyrics by Roger Hodgson )

"Even in the quietest moments" is an album hard to describe, but other than the previous ( and following ) Supertramp - releases it is clearly dominated by the compositions and lyrics of Roger Hodgson. Not only did Rick Davies seem content with only 3 ( out of 7 ) contributions being his own, for once he's been leaving most of the album's running time to Roger, who with "Fool's Overture" provided the 10'52'' epic at the end that is an absolute stand-out in the Oeuvre of this band.

Nonetheless at least two of the songs by Davies, namely "Downstream" and "From now on", rank amongst the band's all-time-classics as well, while "Loverboy" had somehow got neglected ( but as a funny story about a boy who, only by reading a book, became a "ladykiller", it's still made to wonder if there's really a pattern or recipe to make a "winner" out of a man, if only he would follow... I think that there's not a few male contenders out there still who'd curiously embrace such a sort of "secret" lol ), well, this doesn't mean that it's a lesser song... but, yep, "From now on" is absolutely outstanding, telling us the story of a man who's dreaming to escape his 9 to 5, robbing a store and start anew in Italy... but, of course, he won't do so, instead of it he's asking his lover to "live in a fantasy" with him. Great one. I remember whenever I got the "monday blues", working in that music store in the 90s, I chose to put on that song if only to hear the embarrassing lament when Rick's voice starts yowling in frustration: "Mooondaay... is comin' round again, I'm in the same old place, with the same old faces always watching me !" Thanks for the empathy. Love it to bits. And "Downstream" is a piano-ballad that, in all its romantic glory, I have dared to adopt for acoustic guitar so I can sing it for myself occasionally ( sorry, no recording of that yet, perhaps because I know I simply can't compete with or emulate Rick's Piano ).

But here we go, no matter how impressive these tunes are, as I said, this album hugely belongs to Roger. If I were to compile a "best of" Supertramp I would not leave out any of the 4 - and if, it would be a horrendous move with omitting the "Hit", something that none of the record-buyers would forgive me, cause, yes, "Give a little bit" is a signature-tune and it's been a hit to accompany us since the 70's.

"Even in the quietest moments" had one of my English-teachers bringing the album to school and making us listen to the song over and over again, analysing the lyrics together. To him, as well as to many others, it was a lovesong from man to woman. And, although there are quite some signs that tell me this was right, I still end up thinking it was a prayer to god. Perhaps it's a mixture of both. It may be a goddess then. Wonderfully woven around the 12-string guitar picking, the arrangement is a stunner as is the melody.

But there can be no doubt that "Babaji" is a prayer. And although that song clocks in at 4'51'' it leaves the impression of a well constructed epic... to me, this was a "Hit" since the first time I've heard it on the radio, one of the reasons that tuned me onto Supertramp. I simply thought: "Man ! This voice stands for songs beyond imagination, how many good ones are there ? This band must be awesome !" Of course, they were. Anytime I'm listening to this album the feelings of my childhood days ( I was a 13-year old in 1977 ) return, the memories drop in and the feelings stay the same. I'm biased, of course. I'm a fan.

But what "Fool's Overture", the one track to which it all comes down in the end, is REALLY about... I think that we can only speculate as long as Roger doesn't tell us distinctively. Some say it's about Neville Chamberlain's politics of appeasement towards Hitler in opposition to Winston Churchill. Some rely on Tarot Cards in order to find a strange description of Jhvh as the "Fool" and say it's all due to an apocalyptic plan of higher design. Well, to me it's got a slightly different, even personal meaning I don't wanna report about in public. But in general, I think, it's a story about humanity failing against ignorance and the need of mankind to get back, learning from that failure. Otherwise it's a mystical tune anyway, one for which all-bountiful interpretations must fail as long as we can't see through the eye of the writer, and every listener ought to simply feel what the song is saying to himself. It's such a dazzling piece of music, and, of course, the one on this album that prog-lovers ought to embrace as a masterpiece.

What's keeping me from giving the album a 5-star-rating is... well, the sound-production is very cold, it could have been a little warmer and more lively. This album is full of emotions but those emotions, depending on your state of mind, seem to have been sterilised a bit in favour of perfection... I can't say. But song-wise... it's surely been more cohesive and mature than its predecessor. Some say that, after "Even in the quietest moments", Supertramp lost their prog-appeal. I think that they were right to not overstretch the serious side that they had explored to the grounds with this album and come up with something more "positive" next.

But in terms of quality, this one isn't far behind "Crime of the Century". It's only lacking balance a bit, compared directly. In the end, "Give a little bit" was a very necessary inclusion to keep it from being "too depressive". But being blessed with a strong affection to Roger Hodgson's "inner world", it will always remain a personal favourite of mine.

rupert | 4/5 |

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