Supertramp
Crisis? What Crisis?


4.0
excellent

Review

by JP Patino Izquierdo USER (14 Reviews)
April 17th, 2016 | 42 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let me tell you a story that'll make a change

In 1974 Supertramp presented their album Crime of the Century. With its mix of catchy and simple instrumentation, dark and cynical lyrics, plus the feeling of honest sadness an anger on its atmosphere it managed to become a true cornerstone in the genre of progressive rock. The LP was just what the band needed as they were about to break up because of the lack of success (and quality) of their previous albums, so finding themselves with a critically acclaimed and comercially succesful release was certainly a surprise.

Probably it was thanks to this unexpected success that their 1975 release: Crisis? What Crisis? felt a little bit "rushed" as said by the band members themselves. The truth is that this album is not even close to the quality of its predecessor, however, Crime of the Century was one of the darkest albums in prog rock, with some of the most complex songwriting the genre had seen by the time, so it was pretty difficult in the first place to even try to reach its class.

That being said, Crisis? What Crisis? certainly isn't a masterpiece, but that doesn't mean it is a bad album at all. Actually, it is still an excellent and essential LP for every art-rock, prog rock or prog pop fan.

The band keeps its dark lyrics mixed with a happy musical atmosphere in here, so their staple sound is more than palpable. Sister Moonshine or Ain't Nobody But Me, which are among the best songs in the album, shows us a group that retains its energy and power: The catchiness is there, the mighty horns are there and the odd, yet classic mix of Hodgson and Davies's voices is still there.

The great lyrics, as said before, can be found in here too, now leaning more towards social criticism though, instead of the "introspective and personal" feeling of their previous LP. A topic that would evolve in the band and would culminate in 1979's Breakfast in America.

On the instrumental side, Supertramp is known for their lack of "complexity". They were able to create dense atmospheres and powerful climaxes without ever falling into the "wankery" that's typical in progressive rock and that's something that we can still appreciate in here even though if it isn't in such a big extent as it is in the other albums of their classic era (1974-1979); Another Man's Woman is probably the best example of this, by far the best song in the record, its second half works as one of the best moments in the band's whole discography and works perfectly as a summary of their unique style and ambience.

But we started this review stating that the album felt rushed in comparison to other releases by the band. Why is that? If many of the classic elements of the band are in here, why is it that Crisis? What Crisis? doesn't shine as bright as, let's say, Crime of the Century or Breakfast in America? Well, let's say, there's a big problem with the consistency of the LP: The first side is strong, energetic and retains almost everything of what made of Supertramp a legend in the genre, but Side B just doesn't feel as powerful. Poor Boy, Just A Normal Day or the closer feel a little bit monotonous and lack those special moments in most of classic Supertramp songs that made them unique, so even if Lady or The Meaning are excellent songs and try to keep up the quality of Side B it just feels like there are moments of absolute "filler" in this album where nothing truly striking happens.

Still, even if inconsistent, Crisis? What Crisis? is an awesome album that's worth checking. It is certainly not the band's best but it deserves to be part of its "Classic Four" period and still shines on its own, which is extremly difficult considering how hard it was to keep up to the quality of its predecessor.

Supertramp would later release the excellent Even in the Quietest Moments... and the almost classic Breafast in America, culminating its classic era with the departure of Roger Hodgson in 1983 after the band created ...Famous Last Words... which was the proof of the internal problems between the band members. They would never top the excellence of this era ever again, but during this short span of six years they managed to create a unique style of prog, simple and catchy, yet dark and profound that was impressed in four albums, Davies and Hodgson appeared to the world as one of the most creative songwriters in popular music and Supertramp made it into the olympus of prog, earning a place among the biggest names in the genre with their honest music that felt so different when compared to the pretentiousness that was typical in the prog scene.

In 1975 Supertramp was:

Rick Davies - Vocals, Keyboards, Harmonica
Roger Hodgson - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
John Anthony Helliwell - Wind Instruments, Guitar
Bob C. Benberg - Drums, Percussion
Dougie Thomson - Bass



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user ratings (92)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MrSirLordGentleman
April 17th 2016


9573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As always, I'd appreciate any suggestions. Since english isn't my first language there might be typos and I'd be glad to fix them if you find any



Made a pause in my studies to review this since I've been wanting to do it for a long time and I really needed a rest. Album's awesome



I'd link songs but Hodgson is a bitch with the copyright and you can't find a shit on youtube

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2016


7187 Comments


The album cover is awesome.

Will read the review asap.


PS: very informative review, pos, some (very few) typos need editing, though.


intern problems

internal


Why is that?, if many

Why is that? If many

Digging: Varsovie - L'Heure et la Trajectoire

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You can stream the album there;

https://musicmp3.ru/artist_supertramp__album_crisis-what-crisis.html#.VxPg20n2a1s

Glad you covered this. It needed a review badly. Album is a classic. I almost love it as much as Crime of the Century. Will read soon.

MrSirLordGentleman
April 17th 2016


9573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@voivod: yeah I just found a couple and fixed them, don't know if there are more, I'll fix all the typos you guys find in here. Thanks for the pos btw!



@Jethro, damn, as much? I mean, you know I love Supertramp just like you but I really think the Side B goes a little down, specially with the songs I mentioned

Asdfp277
April 17th 2016


11739 Comments


cool album cover >:]

MrSirLordGentleman
April 17th 2016


9573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@voivod, thanks, I fixed those too



@asdf all of the covers from their classic period rule tbh

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just a Normal Day doesn't do much to me, but I enjoy the toe tapping of Poor Boy and its plaintive vocals, its clarinet solo and all. Two of Us is one of their best sad songs. Too short if anything. I can't see how the album were made in a rush, really.

I have Famous Last Words at a 4, Breakfast at a 4.5 and same for EitQM, so I haven't had a choice in giving this one a 5, since it's my second favorite, and it's nearly perfect to me.

Edit; I did read it a little fast, searching for the passages you were talking about. Will read it more carefully.

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I confess the 2nd half of the album is not as strong as the 1st one, but it has both Lady and The Meaning. Maybe it's more a 4.5 than a 5 after all... Not sure, oh well...

Edit; damn it, bumped down to a 4,5. I have yet to revisit Famous Last Words.

Friday13th
April 17th 2016


5478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have the four "classic-era" Supertramp albums on vinyl, but I haven't checked Famous Last Words. I think this one is third best.

Digging: Blood Sweat Tears - Child Is Father to the Man

PumpBoffBag
April 17th 2016


731 Comments


Hell yeah, love supertramp. Top tier review

Digging: Secret Cutter - Self Titled

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Even in the Quietest Moments is another album that contains only classic songs, but I probably listened too much to it. I sometimes get tired of the air-played''Give a Little Bit'' and ''Babaji'' and some parts of other songs.

Friday13th
April 17th 2016


5478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Even in the Quitest is good, but I only really like the t/t and Fool's Overture.

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely their 2 bests in there.

Jethro42
April 17th 2016


14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And from Breakfast, the only songs that leave me cold are ''Just Another Nervous Wreck'' and ''Casual Conversations''. The rest is really enjoyable.

TwigTW
April 17th 2016


1873 Comments


Edit: careful with the commas ;-)

Digging: King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman

TwigTW
April 17th 2016


1873 Comments


This came after Crime Of The Century? That is surprising.

MO
April 17th 2016


20956 Comments


fuk yea, poor boy is a jam

TwigTW
April 17th 2016


1873 Comments


It's interesting that you say this album is rushed. Although it has it's high-points, I agree that it is a step down from its predecessor, Crime of the Century. The thing about this album that I find most fascinating, and yet no one seems to mention it, is that "SoapBox Opera" is, besides being a great song on its own, a blueprint for 'Even In The Quietist Moments' "Fool's Oveture
'.

MrSirLordGentleman
April 17th 2016


9573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the advice Twig, I've changed the first sentence





As for the album feeling kinda "rushed" it was an expression that both Hodgson and Thomson used to describe it, and if you look at the album's "flaws" it kinda makes sense why they refer to it like that

TwigTW
April 17th 2016


1873 Comments


I never really thought about it before tonight, but I am surprised that this came between CotC and EitQM. Although I like some of the songs very much, it seems like a misstep.



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