Review Summary: A transitional album, an emotionally charged journeys with a direct and intimate feel, Even In the Quietest Moments succeeds where the previous album failed, while failing where their next album would eventually succeed.
Even In the Quietest Moments… is the third attempt at a full LP with the lineup of songwriters Hodgson and Davies, as well as, Helliwell, Siebenburg and bassist Dougie Thompson. The album is truly a unique edition to the band’s catalogue. Not only does it not use the trademark Wurlitzer Electric Piano, not one song is less than 4 mintues long, while the last track is a 10-minute epic. As well, both Davies and Hodgson wrote the title track. Each other song was composed individually, while giving the album a much more intimate feel.
The album starts off with the famous single Give a Little Bit, written by Roger Hodgson. It fits the program of the album, as it is a much more acoustic driven piece than most other hits the Supertramp catalogue. The album itself gives off a very personal feel, almost as if the band is telling us the problems with today’s life and society through each song. Give a Little Bit encompasses this ideal and provides the catchy pop single needed to propel the album farther.
Lover Boy was a composition by Davies that while being a pleasure to listen, it is a little too long and forgettable. The album itself is not Davies’ finest hour as Roger Hodgson takes most of the glory with his three and a half pieces. Lover Boy leads in to Even in the Quietest Moments, the title track. Composed by both songwriters, it begins with birds chirping and sounds of nature, creating a serene atmosphere. Roger’s lyrics are vague and easily misinterpreted. They seem to be speaking of love for nature, a higher being or another person. The intimate feel of the album is in full force with this track, making the listener feel as if they are with Roger in the forest, listening to the birds chirp while playing guitar.
My personal favourite track on the album comes with Downstream which closes off side one. It is a solo composition by Davies’ and carries a theme that would often be used in the post-Roger Supertramp. It is a beautiful intimate piece with such a personal touch; the audience feels a real connection with Davie’s emotional piano playing and his touching lyrics that fittingly close off the side.
Side two begins with Roger’s track Babaji. The song itself is a fun little piece but in the end it is forgettable. It again creates the personal touch and embodies and emotional reaction among listeners. Yet, the piece never fulfills its realized potential and drags on a little too long without really climaxing. Davies’ comes in to save the day with a terrific composition called From Now On. The first half of the song is quite dull, and lamented but it picks up as the entire band joins into sing the chorus with Davies for a few minutes, making a lasting on any first time listener.
The album closes with one of the most ambitious pieces in the Supertramp catalogue. Roger’s 10 minute long epic, Fool’s Overture. The many overlapping melodies, sound effects, and clear vocals show a very dark and grim Supertramp that would later be echoed in the Davies lead Brother Where You Bound. The song is dark at times, yet completely free and joyful at others. It is a strange and enigmatic song without a true meaning. The best part in probably the whole album is Roger singing Dreamer in the background, a little homage to his song on Crime of the Century. It sets imaginations ablaze and creates mystery and intrigue among listeners, this one included. It is nearly a perfect song, except for the ending. Roger never really properly ends the piece with a final line or chord. It slowly fades off while the tuning of an orchestra slowly fades in and then back to silence again, closing the album. Truly a thoroughly composed piece with many sections and emotions flowing through it. A highlight of the Supertramp catalogue.
Though categorized as a progressive rock album, it bridges on Folk and other genres while keeping some of its progressive lore that the band first developed on Crime of the Century. Even in the Quietest Moments… would eventually be used as a stepping-stone for Supertramp’s most famous release, Breakfast in America. Similar engineering and productions techniques are used throughout the two albums, giving each track more echo and reverb than normally expected for songs of this nature.
The band again elects to go with a dual songwriter system, so that both singers alternate throughout the album. The album is definitely a fine catch but never really develops into a true full LP like Crime of the Century did before. Though they build off of Crisis" What Crisis", the full form and sound of the band is just not there yet but it would be found on their next LP, becoming one of the biggest selling bands of the decade along with it. Even in the Quietest Moments… has its moments, but they never unable to reach their full potential in the end.