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

EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS ...

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 653 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This album doesn't captivate me the way Crime of the Century or even Breakfast in America do, but it sure comes close. It's still hard to grasp these nearly thirty years later just how good these guys were at making artistic, yet at the same time highly accessible music. Supertramp's 70s output is like a secret indulgence - sometimes dripping with sugar but always worth it.

"Give a Little Bit" was the band's second big single, but while this one reached higher in the charts, it managed to largely avoid becoming temporarily annoying like "Bloody Well Right" off Crime of the Century. The simple opening acoustic guitar riff is progressively layered through a number of iterations with drums, piano, and saxophone, all wrapped inside Roger Hodgson's John Lennon-like humanitarian lyrics like "see the man with the lonely eyes, oh take his hand - he'll be surprised". This was one of the finest feel-good songs of what was a supremely satisfying and memorable year (for me at least). A top- notch backdrop to the spring of 1977.

Rick Davies' piano and vocal lead-in to "Lover Boy", like many of his tunes, smacks heavily of a Randy Newman tune. This one perhaps more so considering the sarcastic character sketch of a rather shallow guy who is apparently looking for validation in pop culture and self-help books. The backing vocals and whistling keep the mood light and make this an engaging but somewhat inconsequential ditty. Hodgson's guitar and melodic accompanying vocals make for another pleasant, artsy pop tune that would not be out of place on a 10cc album circa around the same timeframe.

The title track is one of Supertramp's least appreciated art rock numbers in which everyone in the band gets in the act in the buildup to a signature 70s-sounding finale. Here again the acoustic guitar and piano combine for that clean, crisp, melodic sound for which the band was so well known in the latter 70s. The clarinets give an added dimension that is both idyllic and rather nostalgic at the same time. With the possible exception of "Fool's Overture" this may be the best track on the album.

By the time "Downstream" rolls around the tone of the album is pretty much set as a rather laid-back work, much less angst-ridden than their previous offering Crime of the Century. Davies' vocals are not unlike some of the contemporary works from Dan Fogelberg in the same period.

"Babaji" perhaps hints at the more jazzy direction the band would take as they rode into the 80s post Breakfast in America. The composition is highly repetitive with apparently spiritualistic lyrics that apparently pay tribute to the Himalayan yoga master of the same name. I'm not familiar with the percepts of that faith, but apparently Hodgson was. Not one of the stronger songs on the album, but an interesting diversion nonetheless.

"From Now On" is another track with Davies leading the vocals, and not unlike "Downstream" in tempo and construction, although a bit longer and with a slightly more erratic tempo. This one feels awkward at times, but once again the piano and mild guitar work make it work for the most part.

The closing "Fool's Overture" would become a concert staple for a while, with the band taking the closing lyric "let's go crazy" literally by dragging costumed characters and ancillary musicians on stage for a decadent display of gleeful madness. The quiet opening piano chords give way to a myriad of musical forays over the ten minutes or so the song runs, combining with what appear to be nonsensical lyrics and vaguely discernable sound effects. At one point guest musician Gary Mielke kicks in some goofy variety with an oberheim keyboard riff behind Hodgson and Davies' competing vocals before Hodgson heads off on an acoustic guitar and vocal rant about 'Sister Moonshine', whoever the heck that is. Kind of a strange tune, especially for the highly pop-conscious Hodgson, but again an appealing diversion and overall one of the band's more unusual works.

This is not a masterpiece on par with Breakfast in America or Crime of the Century, but it is certainly a highly accomplished bit of musical history that would be welcome in just about anyone's collection. Four stars does not seem out of line.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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