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Supertramp - Crime Of The Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1457 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Ah the year 1974, when album oriented FM radio was reaching its peak, when even the more pop-oriented groups dabbled in by-then mainstream progressive styles. Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end. But they did with a thud. Before that, SUPERTRAMP had shown that prog could be accessible and oh-so-hummable. While I am not familiar with their earliest or final albums, I feel assured that COTC is the best of their most popular period, and best produced, especially for its time, even if it shows ample signs of the effeteness that would follow.

The only really exceptional songs are the opener and closer. "School" became a soundtrack for its time period by its blend of reflective acoustic instrumentation with post 1960s angst and disillusionment, before disco deemed that we could simply stomp our problems into the floorboards of the local club. The title cut outshines the group as well as anything else they ever did. Even allowing for the paucity of vocals, already a wise move where Supertramp is concerned, the splendid lead guitar solo leading to the layered instrumental interplay could go on 10 minutes as far as I'm concerned. Especially if "Dreamer" could be cut out in the bargain, in the running for the most irritatingly whiny song of the entire decade, and itself practically the crime of the century. It also apparently justified Supertramp's tendency to parlay any hook into a drooling mess for the next half decade at least.

"Bloody Well Right" is instrumentally a fine swing jazz tune with as much verve as "Dreamer" lacks, but lyrically weak, and with a lame chorus. "Hide in Your Shell" has several worthwhile melodic themes that offset the repetitiveness. "Rudy", "Asylum" and "If Everyone was Listening" are all fairly tepid standard mid 1970s fare, with the former missing the mark in the epic sweepstakes of its time by a country kilometer.

COTC is certainly the place to start your exploration of this group whose popularity began a steady rise in 1974, but, while the album is far from dispensible, to bypass it would be no more than a minor transgression. To phrase it in terms of Supertramp's sparkling studio precision, 3.000 stars, neither rounded nor truncated.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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