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Supertramp - Indelibly Stamped CD (album) cover

INDELIBLY STAMPED

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

2.65 | 237 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
3 stars This would be the last Supertramp album I would discover when I was on my big Supertramp binge back when "Breakfast in America" came out. It was a total surprise to me because, first of all, I didn't know it even existed back then, (I even had the odd debut album at that point). My 2nd surprise was the album cover which had the Supertramp name on it. I'm sure there was a big "WTF?" expression on my face there. At first I thought it was some odd import that I ran across, but after a little research, which back then consisted of asking the expert at the record store, I found out it was their 2nd album. Well, since I had everything Supertramp back then, I had to buy it and hide it from my mother who would have been offended at the cover and would have condemned me to hell for it.

So, I expected to hear something similar to the debut album, which concentrates on acoustic and electric guitars more than keyboards like the more familiar Supertramp would. The first track "Your Poppa Don't Mind" was the 3rd surprise....I wasn't expecting to hear something so similar to the Supertramp sound that everyone was so familiar with. There was that familiar piano-laden sound with the catchy rhythms and happy songs that I loved so much.

Now, after all these years, it is obvious that this was one of Supertramp's first album, because it isn't as polished and seems slightly rushed in some parts. Apparently, the band was in trouble because their debut album flopped and this was a last ditch effort to put something together. Hence, the feeling that the band was attempting to find their sound. This album, however, is a step in the right direction and is the bridge between the completely different sounds of the debut album and the amazing "Crime of the Century". After listening to this album, the transition makes a lot more sense. At least, it does when it comes to Rick Davies.

As I said earlier, the first track is surprisingly close to the perfected trademark sound that Supertramp would acquire. "Travelled" comes next, and is Roger Hodgson's turn to be vocalist. This one is more similar to the debut album with more emphasis on guitars, but there is some added brass towards the end of the song. It is more upbeat than most of the songs on the debut though, which is overall more darker. Roger sings on the next track also "Rosie Had Everything Planned". This one is more of a folksy song in 3/4 time starting with only an acoustic guitar accompaniment, but later with an addition of keys and accordion. This will be the last song you will hear Roger on until the last track. Rick sings the next 2 tracks. "Remember" is a upbeat rocker with a good mix of keys and guitar, and with the Supertramp sound that we are more familiar with. There are audience sounds here, but they were added to a studio track. He follows with "Forever" which is a mid tempo song with a strong beat, somewhat similar to "Oh Darling" from Breakfast in America believe it or not.

The next track sounds the least like anything by Supertramp and is sung by David Winthrop. It is a more blues-rock sounding and a heavier song. David's vocals are a little similar to Roger's in these earlier years, but that is hard to discern because you won't hear from him again on Supertramp's albums. Not a bad song, but completely out of character for the band. Rick returns again with 3 songs in a row, each one different in it's own right, but very foreshadowing of their future sound. "Coming Home to See You" is a piano centered rocker with a nice instrumental ending which features a call-and-answer format between an organ and a harmonica, again shades of future Supertramp here. "Times Have Changed" is more bluesy with the familiar Davies' back beat sound. "Friend in Need" is more upbeat again, but has a nice New Orleans sound to the last part of the song. Roger finally returns to lead vocal duties for "Aries" which is over 7 minutes long, but is mostly consisting of a long instrumental section that again (like the other Roger songs here) stay away from the future Supertramp sound, concentrating on acoustic guitars, flutes and marimbas, sort of like a folky sounding Santana. Not bad, but not the sound we would become familiar with.

So it seems that Rick Davies found the trademark and famous sound before Roger did. That sound that Rick taps into here would become the sound that would make them superstars. Even though Roger was the more commercial sounding of the two, it was Rick that hit on the sound first. It is also interesting to note that Rick only sung on one track on the debut album (The Shadow Song) and it sounds nothing like what he does on this album. Roger sings most of the songs on the debut, but only 3 songs on "Indelibly Stamped". Any of the Davies songs could have been easily redone to fit on any of Supertramp's later albums, but any of the Hodgson songs would have taken a complete reworking to be included successfully.

All in all, this is not a bad album if you consider when it was made (early in their career) and the stress they were under to throw something good together quickly. "Crime of the Century" is still light years away in masterpiece status than this album could ever be, but I still find it a nice surprise, especially if you are hungering for the beautiful and happy sounds of this band, but you are tired of the same songs. Again, you have to realize that the best songs here are from Davies, but fortunately, he leads on most of the tracks here. It's not a perfect album, but it is fun and it is interesting to hear the way their sound changed. And it is still much better than the not so great "...Famous Last Words" when they (especially Roger) should have known better. Personally, I like this enough to give it 4 stars, but because of a lack of progressiveness on the album and for the purposes of ProgArchives, I'll give it a strong 3 stars. Not perfect, not prog, but still a lot of fun.

TCat | 3/5 |

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