Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis? (1975)

Stuck between the more explicitely impressive "Crime" and "Even" albums, "Crisis? What Crisis?" tends to be a bit overlooked by many prog reviewers, but I don't agree with it. I acutally regarded it as Supertramp's secons best and most consistent album in their entire career, although it is plain to see why it is overshadowed by its predecessor. It is obvious that the "Crisis" material is not as refined in terms of arrangements and sound as the "Even" material, but from a compositional point of view it is almost as solid as the "Crime" material. It is healthy that Hodgson brings back the most optimistic side of his introspective essence in order to create a more dynamic contrast to the usual sense of bitterness and irony that one can expect from the Davies-penned numbers. It is also a positive thing that Hodgson decided to return to the good use of his acoustic guitar, so the melodic element in his compositions can bring an oasis of bucolic lyricism side to side with the album's rockier pieces. The album kicks off with 'Easy Does It'/'Sister Moonshine', two acoustic guitar-based songs written by Hodgson. The former is an intro whose serene mood may remind us of any of the best ballads in McCartney's or Harrison's solo albums in the early 70s, while the latter offers a more extroverted expansion, complete with a tight rhythm section and effective solos by Helliwell on flageolet and sax. Davies' harmonica also brings some extra colors that help to enhance the bucolic mood, only borken momentarily by the lead guitar solo: arguably the best electric guitar solo in a Supertramp song. 'Ain't Nobody but Me' is an explosive mid- tempo rocker built in a robust bluesy atmosphere. The sense of energy displayed in this track finds an appropriate counterpart in the following piece, th majestic 'A Soapbox Opera'. For this one, Hodgson plays piano and sings the lead vocals, while the organ and the string synthesizer create elegant orchestrations. The solemn beuaty of the main motif is efficiently adorned by the interlude's chorale and the closing climax: this climax feels quite brief, yet it is effective, indeed. 'Another Man's Woman' is another Davies-penned rocker, in which he has the chance to show his peculiar style and skill on grand piano, tightly accompanied by Siebenberg and Thompson and cleverly complemented by Hodgson's guitar riffs and Helliwell's multi-tracked saxes. 'Lady' opens up the album's second half bearing similar tempo and mood as 'Dreamer'. This song is not as charismatic, but it sure brings a breath of fresh air before the ironic bitterness of 'Poor Boy', Davies' tribute to the old days of ancient jazz. 'Just a Normal Day' is a power ballad that portrays the duality between lonely desolation and the need to enjoy the good thing in life, not unlike 'Rudy from "Crime". It is not as majestic as 'Rudy', but it is very moving: an underrated Davies' song that should be more appreciated. With 'The Meaning' and 'Two of Us', Hodgson resumes the leading role from behind the strings of his acoustic guitar. The former is an uplifting hymn against the common vices of modern life and for a recovery of our truest self: it includes some of the most magnificent Helliwell's sax solos ever. The latter is a ballad of search for peace and love, in which the acoustic guitar and lead voice find a perfect background in the harmonium and organ layers. A ver ygood ending for an excellent Supertramp item. - Review by Cesar Inca (César Inca Mendoza Loyola)

Track Listings

Side 1
1. Easy does It (2:17)
2. Sister Moonshine (5:15)
3. Ain't Nobody but me (5:12)
4. A soap Opera (4:50)
5. Another man's woman (6:20)
Side 2
6. Lady (5:24)
7. Pour Boy (5:08)
8. Just a Normal Day (3:59)
9. The Meaning (5:21)
10. Two of Us (3:29)

Total Time: 47:05

- Roger Hodgson / vocals, guitar and keyboards
- Bob C. Benberg / drums and percussion
- Dougie Thomson / bass
- John Anthony Helliwell / wind instruments and vocal
- Richard Davies / vocals and keyboards
Releases information

LP A&M Records (UK) AMLH68347 (1975)
CD A&M Records (USA) 493347 (2002)


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