Supertramp’s past was interesting, two albums of little note with a different band before they took a couple of years off to reform after picking up a crack rhythm section and a wind player/backup vocalist. They then met studio wonderkid Ken Scott and released their magnum opus Crime of the Century to worldwide and critical success. A slight hiccup on the followup Crisis? What Crisis? leads to 1977’s Even In the Quietest Moments, another critical and even more commercial success.
It begins with Supertramp’s first top 20 hit, “Give a Little Bit.” This song has a great acoustic guitar hook and the high pitched vocal of Rodger Hodgson singing a catchy melody. I enjoy the method in which each Supertramp record alternate tracks between the two singers. The more baritone pitched Rick Davies sings the clever & fun “Lover Boy,” the bluesy/breezy “Downstream,” and the outstanding “From Now On.” This song features inspired piano work as always from Davies and a jazzy saxaphone solo from John Anthony Helliwell. Although the hits were usually by Hodgson, Davies voice and songwriting is still a highlight on every Supertramp album. Hodgson’s voice on title track “Even In the Quietest Moments” is at its most fragile towards the beginning, but dynamically builds to show what range and power the man has.
The piece that is of most interest to us prog fans is the over ten minute epic, “Fool’s Overture.” It begins with a quiet piano backed with orchestral instruments and Hodgson’s fragile and tender vocal. Then a pulsating synth line comes in like it skipped to another record, something by Tangerine Dream. The segues sustaining these extra minutes are ably provided (as on the past two albums) by rhythm section Dougie Thomson and Bob C. Benberg. Hodgson comes in again with his fragile voicework bringing back that unmistakable Supertramp quality to insure that you are indeed on the right CD. It again breaks into a reprise of the electronica section while overlaying harmony vocals to bring it all to a glorious climax.
Even In the Quietest Moments is one of Supertramp’s best works, right behind Crime of the Century and 1979’s Breakfast In America. A great record from the more mainstream side of prog, it comes highly recommended from this reviewer.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on June 22nd, 2012