Supertramp

unnamed(4)Supertramp
Crime of the Century (Deluxe)
A&M/UME
by David Chiu

If 1979’s Breakfast in America is considered Supertramp’s definitive album, then the British art rock band’s Crime of the Century, released five years earlier, comes in at a close second. While it didn’t necessarily have the more mainstream sounding hits as on Breakfast in America, Crime of the Century proved to be a breakthrough record for Supertramp, following the commercial failure of its first two albums. It contains several of the band’s popular numbers in the angsty rocker “School”; the tender “Hide in Your Shell”; the very British-sounding “Bloody Well Right”; the whimsical and poppy “Dreamer”; and the dramatic narrative of “Rudy.” Not only that, but Crime also marked the debut of the classic and popular Supertramp lineup of Rick Davies, Roger Hodgson, John Helliwell, Dougie Thomson, and Bob Siebenberg. While it certainly a relic of ’70s progressive rock, Crime stands out above some of the genre’s excesses (extended suites, long guitar solos, shifting time signatures) thanks to the melding of pop, blues and jazz influences. To mark the 40th anniversary of the album, this new deluxe version of Crime of the Century also carries a second disc of a live 1975 concert from the Hamersmith Odeon – featuring performances of the songs from Crime of the Century as well as several tracks that would later appear on the follow-up record Crisis? What Crisis? (the ebullient “Sister Moonshine” and the ballad “Just a Normal Day” among them). One could hear how the seeds for Breakfast in America were planted from Crime of Century, which in retrospect was a major turning point for the band’s fortunes.

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