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Supertramp - Indelibly Stamped CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.64 | 220 ratings

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3 stars The second album of SUPERTRAMP ranks among the lowest rating albums of a famous prog band, so Prog Archives seems not to be an exception! Given that the band split upon its release, "Indelibly Stamped" is generally considered so bad that it flopped commercially and thus making the band a history. However, the time passed calls for a re-listening of this work in order to be more objective.

There is no doubt that this album failed to attract the rock audience of the time and it was surely "under-written". But honestly, I just re-listened it several times and cannot see why is it considered so bad. I admit a "special relation" to this album, because it was one of my first listening experience during the period when I started discovering prog and other classic rock of early 1970s. A friend got an LP, from who knows where, and I had a taped version on a cassette. It is clear that this album is seemingly a random collection of songs, so diverse that it often sounds so strange. "Is this all from the same band?" one could ask! Unlike the debut, where the leader was obviously Roger Hodgson, here we have Rick Davies and his piano in the frontline of most of the songs. He brought an inspiration from American-style jazz, blues and soul music into SUPERTRAMP, and one can notice early pieces of what would become their trademark style in the following successful albums; notably - electric piano, aggressive Davies' baritone with harmonica and introduction of saxophones courtesy of Dave Winthrop.

There are only two truly prog tracks, both sung by Hodgson and featuring flutes and acoustic guitars: "Travelled" and "Aries" (one of the best prog jam improvisations IMO in general). The remaining material shows Davies' as a leader, trying to find the right expression for himself and the band alike. Hard-rock, country, folk, jazz, classic r'n'r, soul and some typically British vignette stories a la THE KINKS or THE BEATLES ("Rosie Had Everything Planned", "Coming Home to See You"), are all present on "Indelibly Stamped". "Remember" was recorded with maximum volume, with multi-tracked saxophones, sounding like a wild version of THE BAND's soul and r'n'b performance ("Chest Fever"). Two side-openers, "Your Poppa Don't Mind" and "Potter", were probably meant to be released as hit-singles, and they are both quite good and radio- friendly simple and danceable songs.

Frankly, it is hard for me to point at any one song as totally bad ("Friend in Need" being the closest one). That said, of course does not mean that this album is anywhere near the most essential works of the era. No, - you indeed don't miss much if you never hear it. But, all your prejudices aside, if you approach this album like you never heard of SUPERTRAMP before, it may surprise you with some odd but interesting songwriting outputs. SUPERTRAMP fans must have this in their collection, but all the other people would certainly find some occasional surprises too.

Seyo | 3/5 |


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