Supertramp

Retrospectacle: The Supertramp Anthology

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Considering their career spanned close to 30 years, it's amazing how condensed most people's vision of Supertramp has become. Or maybe not. Few listeners, after all, would disagree that their prime period encompassed the mere six or so years that divided Crime of the Century (their third album) from Breakfast in America (their sixth), and that the pile of vinyl on either side of that is more or less padding. Certainly Retrospectacle has no problem with that scenario. A completist's eye for affairs does permit the first two albums to enjoy a quick look-in, with one song apiece; and similar treatment is meted out to the seven albums that took the band through the '80s and beyond. The meat of the moment, however, arrives with "Land Ho," the first vinyl manifestation of the so-called "classic" 'tramp lineup, and a lost 45 from early 1974. And, from thereon in, it's all plain sailing -- five songs from Crime of the Century, four apiece from Crisis? What Crisis and Even in the Quietest Moments. . ., and a whopping six from Breakfast in America, all selected to depict the band at the peak of its creative and musical powers -- the haunted harp that opens "School," the staccato percussion that powers "Lady," the lurid harmonies of "From Now On," and on to the sheer illogical madness of "The Logical Song" -- in fact, the only weakness here is the substitution of a live "You Started Laughing" for the vastly superior studio B-side. That aside, though, Retrospectacle tells its story with as much panache as the best of Supertramp could ever demand.

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