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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Supertramp

Crime Of The Century

Review by Larry Toering

Enter Supertramp, by way of a Crime Of The Century, and they pulled it off and got away with it. They forged on from there, going through changes along the way and still coming out looking clean as a whistle. For a band that seemed to know no boundaries, their strong versatility is what got them far. This is one of their least diverse records, with a heavier rock approach to some of it, but still progressive and radio friendly. It's not always easy to review such a well known and already very publicly opined release, but it's a challenge I always welcome.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
School

This has a fine intro by any standard, as well as a fine intro into the ears, hearts and minds of the music community. If you haven't heard this you're probably living in a Swiss cave and haven't come out to even know what a radio is. It clearly defines this band, as it likely inspired anyone who heard it massively rotated on rock stations from pond to pond, in it's worldly quest to dominate young minds everywhere. They really pulled off quite the task by getting it out there. That was continued by the rest of the forces aligned here.

Bloody Well Right

This one is in the same vein, of course, but a much heavier handed rock track. It was probably even more popular, as it should be, because it's better in every way. The piano intro sets it up and most every time I hear it on the radio to this day I think I might be listening to Jethro Tull's “Cross Eyed Mary.” As a matter of fact it sounds inspired somehow by it. This is one of the all time great rock songs, really. With fantastic guitar and killer lyrics, it's something of which I never tire.

Hide In Your Shell

A much different approach drives this rather mellower number, with occasional outbursts of more energetic parts. It shows a side to Supertramp not predictable after the first two tracks. This proves to be a progressive move in arranging the tracks, as well as it being a more progressive arrangement.

Asylum

This is an extremely depressing story, but it makes for great material as usual, and it's delivered with every bit of quality Supertramp usually produces. I love the use of percussion on this, and it just goes down so smoothly that you can't deny it's power. This is also more progressive than the first two numbers, as well.

Dreamer

Here is yet another classic that almost no one can say they haven't heard. It's one of Supertramp's staples, and frankly one of the better ones. The “one, two three repeat” factor is defined in this track, as it does exactly what it takes to get inside the head. This is one of their all time shining moments on record.

Rudy

A humorous plunking piano starts this one off, before the story of Rudy is told with a conviction with which to reckon. For most of it there seems to be little direction in the music until it takes a different sort of aggro approach three-quarters through. From there it stays the course until it's over. Another of the more prog heavy numbers, it really is great stuff that should have gotten more exposure.

If Everyone Was Listening

This is probably the least well known number on the disc, but it's full of beauty and then some. It starts off like it's going to be a ballad, and it maintains that vibe, but it does contain a few breaks that render it more of just a love song than a full blown ballad.

Crime Of The Century

Most of these tracks start off with piano, and this, again, is no exception, and things go into rather uncharted territory for them. This is incredibly diverse with ups and downs, and all arounds. Some of the vocals are downright gruff compared to what can be heard elsewhere here, and it adds something beefy to it all. The string arrangement brings a colorful dimension as well, and the whole track is almost over the top in approach. This  went a long way towards establishing Supertramp’s progressive style on this debut classic outing.

 

 
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