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Roger Hodgson - In the Eye of the Storm CD (album) cover

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

Roger Hodgson

 

Prog Related

3.45 | 104 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first Hodgson effort after his troubled departure from Supertramp, "In the Eye of the Storm" contains many great Supertramp-oriented songs, that is, songs that creatively explore the most ambitious side of the aforesaid band. This album shows (as if it hadn't been clear for years) how strong was Hodgson's own musical vision for the shaping of Supertramps' essence, although Richard Davies would also write a splendid repertoire for "Brother Where You Bound", Supertramp's best post-Hodgson album (...but that's a matter for another review) - this reveals how necessary it was for both parties to break their bond in order to translate their ideas into a wider space.

Anyway, going back to this album, it is really excellent, not only regarding the inventiveness of the compositions and the tightness of the performances (all guitars and keyboards and most bass provided by Roger himself), but also the mood. You can tell that this guy went over the confusion of transition quickly and felt himself refurbished and re- energized. Even in those tracks in which the lyrics are not as optimistic ('In Jeopardy', 'Hooked in a Problem') there is an energetic vibe patent in Hodgson's singing and the instrumentation.

The album kicks off with a mini-suite that starts with a sequence of clocks ticking, baby crying, order giving and ultimately, a primal shout that serves as sing for things to get started for real. The melodic hooks and the tight rhythm section go all the way, only interrupted by a soft interlude on piano and vocal. This brilliant entry is followed by 'In Jeopardy', which bears a rockier feel despite not being as fast in tempo: the introductory synth solo and the stylishly bluesy tempo provide a more somber aura to the album's ambiance, despite its patent colorfulness. With more melancholy but also a more hopeful vibe, the beautiful ballad' Lovers in the Wind' provides some spiritual relaxation for the listener's mind. This song is pure beauty, anticipated by a majestic intro theme and wrapped in a blanket of contemplative serenity.

'Hooked in a Problem' is the least important item in this album: an easy going waltzer with pessimistic lyrics sung in a deceitfully joyful way. Nice and well delivered, but not great. The second half of the album is almost totally perfect. 'Give Me Love, Give Me Life' is one of the most amazing progressive tunes that Hodgson ever wrote, very much in the vein of the "Crisis? What Crisis?" album albeit with a more pompous structure. 'I'm Not Afraid' has its major merits in the interplay between Hodgson's piano and Shrieve's drum kit: this mid-tempo rocker has a pleasant jamming feel to it, although it is obviously framed in a controlled scheme.

'Only Because of You', the album's closer, has to be labelled as the best prog ballad that Supertramp never recorded (but should have). Keeping a similar feel to that of 'Don't Leave Me Now' (one of the few gems of "Famous Last Words"), it surpasses it in majesty, splendor and dynamics. The evocative lyrics perfectly fit the powerful mood created by the piano chords, which in turn, gets properly enhanced by the keyboard orchestrations and the emotionally charged guitar solo. While Hodgson's final lines and the last piano arpeggios fade away, one can only feel lucky to have listened to such a beautiful album. Hodgson had a million reasons to prove the world that his creative juices had not run dry yet, and may I dare bet that he even surprised himself... Crisis?... what crisis?

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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