Crisis? What Crisis?


A&M, 1975

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Supertramp broke onto the scene with their third album, 1973's excellent Crime Of The Century, but wouldn't really break out again until 1977's Even In The Quietest Moments and, especially, 1979's Breakfast In America. Sandwiched in between all this is the forgotten Crisis? What Crisis?, a low-key, charming record that falls short of those other three classics.

There is no immediate way in to this album, no rockers like "Bloody Well Right" or "Goodbye Stranger," pop confections like "Dreamer" or "Give A Little Bit," or the longer multi-part dramatic pieces like "Child Of Vision" and "Rudy." Instead, this is a collection of ten subtle, mostly acoustic singer/songwriter-type numbers concerned about relationships.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Supertramp hallmarks abound, from the electric piano and the multi-part vocals (Roger Hodgson's near-falsetto and Rick Davies' lower end) to the saxophone and the easy atmosphere, the way each song unfolds and shows its personality gradually instead of hitting the listener full force. The only problem is that the band does it with far less vigor; there's nothing overtly commercial, sure, but also nothing truly dramatic or vital.

Still, fans of acoustic or piano-based singer/songwriters (think James Taylor) will find much to like here, and perhaps an introduction to a band they are only vaguely familiar with from the radio. The clarion 12-string call of "Sister Moonshine" and the faux blues attitude of "Ain't Nobody But Me" are early highlights, while the brisk "Lady," despite an awkward middle section, is the sort of strange song that only this band can pull off.

"A Soapbox Opera" tries for a ballad approach befitting its name but fails to invoke the mood,  "Another Man's Woman" is a mess of styles, and both "Poor Boy" and "Just A Normal Day" are dull beyond repair. However, the album ends on a strong note with "The Meaning" and "Two of Us," two songs that show a more mature side to Hodgson's songwriting.

Listeners and critics were fairly split when the record came out; it gained traction in Britain but not so much in America, and even now, some fans tend to overlook this one in favor of the other, better records that surrounded it. What the album lacks in depth and hooks it makes up for in warmth and spirit, with the end result being a flawed yet pleasing listen.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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