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This review is from: Breakfast In America (Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
Poor Supertramp: Musical outcasts for 30 years, their blend of catchy, inoffensive, radio-friendly, melody and hook-driven tunes are about as fondly remembered as the Austin Allegro and Three Day Week. Their crime was to reach their creative zenith at the very epicentre of naffness - the mid-70s. Breakfast in America was their commercial peak and allowed them to grace the world's stages, straggly hair, white floaty-shirts, tank-tops, wispy beards and flares intact, long after changing tastes made such things punishable by lifelong ridicule.
None of this would matter if the music was as cheesy, mawkish and bland as is often assumed. But 'classic' era Supertramp had two golden nuggets - an outstanding feel for melody and good old fashioned creative tension between the Lennon and McCartney of the attractively challenged, Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies.
Breakfast in America perfectly balances Davies's catchy introspection (Just Another Nervous Wreck, Oh Darling, Goodbye Stranger) with Hodgson's perfect pop (the title track, Take the Long Way Home and the awesome Logical Song). If this collection is singles-heavy, lacking some of the proggier ambition of Even In The Quietest Moments or Crime Of The Century, it is still one hell of a satisfying album.
This remaster sounds gorgeous - a real improvement over the previous 2003 issue. Rich, broad, clean and vibrant - exactly fitting the music. The bonus disc features tracks from the 1979 tour, although we're given no further sourcing details. Four tracks overlap with the live Paris album - Logical Song, From Now On, Breakfast in America and Take the Long Way Home - albeit these are different recordings and sound very different. I have no idea how much post-production work was done on Paris, but this disc sounds a lot less cleaned up. Paris sounds brighter, but the vocals in particular are drenched in echo, giving a cavernous and somewhat impersonal sound. By contrast, Disc 2 here sounds more intimate, less polished and probably more fun. It's also nice to know they occasionally mixed up some of their interpretations on the tour - unlike John Helliwell's literal and witless intros.
As ever with Supertramp, you can never be sure how much conflict has gone on behind the scenes: on the live CD, every Hodgson song is followed by a Davies one; the otherwise excellent 36 page booklet glosses over the war between Hodgson and Davies - you'd never guess, for instance, that Davies fought to call the album something else and objected strongly to the inclusion of the title track. Davies is the only band member not to provide lengthy, current quotes in the booklet. Too busy nursing his grievances maybe. Such conflict is the grit in the oyster of the best bands, but just seems a bit petulant and silly in a group whose bedrock is harmony and melody. It half makes you wonder why exactly this reissue missed its 30th Anniversary by a year.
So there you have it; outstandingly melodic, infectious and somewhat escapist music that is about as likely to return to critical favour as Richard Stilgoe or The Nolans. I only hope it sells and they embark on a Deluxe version of Crime of the Century. Hopefully before its 41st Anniversary.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Oct 2010 17:06:34 BDT
Carl Fitzgerald says:
Nice review of a classic ,one of my favourite supertramp albums,although i have to say i hear supertramp far more frequently on the radio these days than i did back in the day.If they aren't on the radio they are on tv ads or soundtracks.Supertramps music has aged remarkably well and the only reason for that is the quality of the music. I'm particulaly keen to hear dics 2,i'll have my copy tomorrow.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2010 20:07:01 BDT
Prog Fan says:
I agree, excellent review - and I would like to second Supertzar's motion that we see a similar deluxe treatment for Supertramp's magnum opus "Crime of the Century". I saw them on this tour in Boston (USA) - their first USA tour, I believe, in 1975 - and it remains one of my favorite albums to this day.
Posted on 5 Oct 2010 22:39:15 BDT
J. Milner says:
No point in another review. This one says it all. 3rd time remastered - gets better every time. Love it now as much as then.
Posted on 8 Oct 2010 12:05:04 BDT
S. C. Trump says:
Stellar review. Tells me all I need to know about the entire package. Unfortunately I'll be thirteen quid worse off soon!!!
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2010 20:31:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Oct 2010 20:32:56 BDT
Superb review. Hits all the right notes (pardon the pun) on in-fighting, flares and fine music. Supertramp never really were in fashion but their shelf life seems stronger life year. Looking forward to hearing the live tracks. Thanks.
Posted on 17 Dec 2010 16:13:04 GMT
Stephen calvert says:
Quite Possibly the best review i have read on here - five stars.
passed 5 minutes brilliantly.
Posted on 3 Jan 2011 12:17:35 GMT
G. Cole says:
Excellent review, thanks!
Posted on 9 Jan 2014 22:11:07 GMT
Mr. R. G. Prizeman says:
Re bought this after reading your review. This re-master is brilliant, well worth the money, the sound is amazing you were so right, money well spent.
Posted on 17 Nov 2015 20:44:57 GMT
mister joe says:
I wouldn't say "poor old Supertramp".....
you can throw accusations at them but as a group they are massive aren't they?
Easily multi multi millionaires.
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