[Review] Supertramp: Even In The Quietest Moments (1977)

The band’s fifth album has a few memorable moments, but it’s not one of my favorites from the band.

Kronomyth 5.0: An underdone overture.

An ambitious record. An indulgent one too, and I’m not so likely to indulge Supertramp their symphonic fantasies as some. Even in the Quietest Moments does have a few great moments: the first three tracks, for example. However, it starts to fall apart soon after. “Downstream” is just Rick Davies singing and playing piano, and you begin to notice how he and Roger Hodgson have retreated to their own creative corners and failed to fully engage the rest of the band.

A handful of complex numbers (“Lover Boy,” “Babaji,” “Fool’s Overture”) inflate the record, but the fact is that prog’s cupboards are chocked full of tastier treats, from King Crimson to Kayak. Supertramp is super when they stick to simpler, short-form structures: “Give A Little Bit,” “From Now On.” I think that’s because the band’s strength lie in its two songwriters, Hodgson and Davies, not any keen interplay between the individual band members.

On further examination, Even in the Quietest Moments isn’t baffling (see my review of Crisis), just poorly balanced. By the album-ending opus (“Fool’s Overture”), the whole thing has toppled over like an ill-conceived wedding cake. Then again, I’m not wedded to the idea of Supertramp as a progressive rock band. Certainly what separates Supertramp from 10cc isn’t more than a cubic centimeter of conceptualizing. In fact, it’s when Supertramp is least like a progressive rock band that I like them most. Fans have rallied around this record anyway, the ambitious engineering and symphonic touches proving nigh irresistible. Beginners and the Supertramp skeptics among us would be better served by Crime, Crisis and the hearty Breakfast first.

Original elpee version

A1. Give A Little Bit (4:07)
A2. Lover Boy (6:49)
A3. Even In The Quietest Moments (6:39)
A4. Downstream (4:00)
B1. Babaji (4:49)
B2. From Now On (6:10)
B3. Fool’s Overture (10:51)

All songs written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson. Orchestral arrangements by Michel Colombier and Supertramp.

The Players

Bob C. Benberg (drums and percussion), Rick Davies (vocals and keyboards), John Anthony Helliwell (wind instruments and vocals), Roger Hodgson (vocals, keyboards and guitars), Dougie Thomson (bass) with Garey Mielke (Oberheim programming). Produced by Supertramp; recording engineered by Pete Henderson; concert sound engineered by Russel Pope; mix engineered by Geoff Emerick; remix engineered by Tom Anderson.

The Pictures

Photography by Bob Seidemann. Art direction by Mike Doud. Design by Doud/Hagiwara. Inner sleeve photography by Kenneth McGowan.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track in April 1971* in the UK (A&M, AMLK/CAM-64634), the US and Canada (A&M, SP/CS/8T-4634), Australia and New Zealand (A&M, L-36068), Germany and the Netherlands (A&M, 28 600 XOT) and Japan (A&M, GP-2044) with lyrics innersleeve. Reached #12 on the UK charts and #16 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record). Also released on audiophile elpee in 1977 in Canada (A&M, SPJ-4634) with gatefold cover. (*First appeared in 4/16/77 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (A&M, AMP-7043).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (A&M, CD-3297), in Europe (A&M, 394 634).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in 2002 in Europe (A&M, 493 348).

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