I don’t think I’m alone in my appreciation of Supertramp’s Rick Davies voice. Although it seems that former member Roger Hodgson had most of the hits and a signature style, Rick’s voice is just as recognizable and shared vocal duties on all their previous albums almost equally. This is Supertramp’s first album after Roger’s departure, and is of course the most Davies-centric since Crisis? What Crisis? Songs like “Rudy” from Crime of the Century and “From Now On” from Even in the Quietest Moments are amongst my favorite Supertramp songs and are strong vehicles for Rick Davies blues-drenched voice.
Brother Where You Bound begins with “Cannonball,” a rollicking number that signifies everything that’s great about Supertramp. Moving piano, keyboard solo, horn fills leading to a breakout chorus, all the way to a wonderful outro. If you are driving while listening to this song, watch your speed! “Still In Love With You” features a free-form sax solo that segues into an energetic blues-based song. “No Inbetween” is wistful and melancholy, slightly similar to “Casual Conversation” from Breakfast In America. Normally viewed as an incredible pianist, Davies rarely ventures into the vast array of keyboard equipment available to progressive rock superstars such as Wakeman or Emerson. “Better Days” has a dynamic intro and some of the most convincing use of synthesizers I have heard from him. Closing song “Ever Open Door” seems sad, yet hopeful. Calling out to a long lost friend and wishing to make things right again. This seems appropriate to the situation the band found themselves in at the time.
The song “Brother Where You Bound” is Supertramp’s first extended epic, clocking in at sixteen and a half minutes. It’s the longest song since “Even In the Quietest Moments” and in fact, shares some similarities with that breakthrough track. It does not have the consistency of that song unfortunately, but it does have a David Gilmour guitar solo and a very nice guitar section featured at around 10:30 that takes it to a whole ‘nother place.
I would say Breakfast In America was Roger Hodgson’s tour de force, where everything came together to complete an album that reached out to the casual listener and made the band superstars. The next album Famous Last Words found the band faltering a bit, trying to reach the same level of musicianship without much success. It seemed that there was inner turmoil amongst the band members, because by their next album founding member Roger Hodgson had left the band. This left the remaining members to regain their muse and make one of the best records in their repertoire. As Breakfast was Roger’s, Brother Where You Bound is without a doubt Rick Davies’ tour de force.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on August 31st, 2010