Supertramp's artistic peak was incontrovertibly the late 1970s (see Crime of the Century and particularly Breakfast In America). The year of their debut self-titled album was 1970, however, and it wasn't part of it. I picked this up as a special item in Singapore and as a fan of the band I tried very hard to like it, but this aimless album is overwrought hippie drudgery, clearly an obvious overindulgence at the permissive hands of their Dutch sugar daddy. The bookending two-part "Surely" is blunt, honest and forthright despite a poor recording, and the willowy frailty of "Aubade/And I Am Not Like Other Birds of Prey" and "Shadow Song" hinted at what they were actually capable of, but other than flashes of a groove in "Words Unspoken" the rest of the album (especially the amorphous 12-minute "Try Again") is dreary, slow and sometimes even utterly artless. I'm told that for reasons of superstition the band recorded in the studio at unsociable hours; I can well believe it from the quality of the product. It took the failure of this album, the even less accomplished Indelibly Stamped (complete with topless cover) and the departure of their patron to get the band's collective head screwed on straight, but this album does have that same disastrous appeal to fans as road accidents and muggings to rubberneckers, so I guess there's that. (Content: no concerns.)