Crisis? What Crisis? was recorded in Los Angeles and London making it the first Supertramp album to have recording done in the United States of America.
A remastered CD version of the album was released on 11 June 2002 on A&M Records. The remaster features the original artwork and credits plus lyrics to all of the songs, which the original release lacked.
Record Mirror included Crisis? What Crisis? on its end-of-year list for 1975, recognising the best albums of the year.
Having achieved commercial success with Crime of the Century, the pressure was on for Supertramp to deliver a followup, and the record company pushed them to begin work as soon as the touring for "Crime" was finished. While touring the west coast of North America, Supertramp unintentionally gained extra time: Hodgson injured his hand, forcing the band to cancel the rest of the tour and leaving them with nothing better to do than work on the album. Despite this, the band still didn't have time to rehearse for the album, and much like Indelibly Stamped, songwriters Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson had no vision for a completed album worked out. Furthermore, the band's busy touring schedule had left no time for writing songs, and so they entered A&M's Los Angeles recording studios with only leftover songs from Crime of the Century (or even earlier) for material. Due to shortage of material, production had to be halted at one point so that Davies and Hodgson could write two new songs, one of which was "Ain't Nobody But Me".
Both the title and the concept of the cover were conceived by Davies, as John Helliwell recounted: "It was Rick that came up with the name Crisis? What Crisis? and one day, when we were sitting around Scorpio Studio, he came in with this sketch of a guy in a deck chair under an umbrella with all this chaos going on around him." "Crisis? What Crisis?" is a line in the film The Day of the Jackal.
Four of the songs ("Sister Moonshine", "Another Man's Woman", "Lady", and "Just a Normal Day") were performed live before the tracks were recorded and released, as documented on the BBC recorded performance of the band playing at The Hammersmith Odeon in London in March 1975 and were included on the 2001 release Is Everybody Listening?.
Hodgson was unhappy with the album, describing it as a rushed job with none of the cohesion of Crime of the Century. Bassist Dougie Thomson concurred: "We thought that the Crisis album was a little bit disjointed and the band as a whole at that time didn't really like the album."
Another track recorded for the album but left off due to time constraints was "You Started Laughing" which was released as the B-side to "Lady". A live version would surface on the 1980 live album Paris.
Rolling Stone panned the album in their brief review, ridiculing the lyrics in particular.
Allmusic thoroughly commended the album in their retrospective review, praising Rick Davies's keyboard work, Roger Hodgson's vocals, and John Helliwell's saxophone. They especially noted the emotionally powerful songwriting, which they felt gave the album a "warm personality and charmingly subtle mood."
Cover design: Fabio Nicoli, Paul Wakefield, Dick Ward
2002 A&M reissue:
The 2002 A&M Records reissue was mastered from the original master tapes by Greg Calbi and Jay Messina at Sterling Sound, New York, 2002. The reissue was supervised by Bill Levenson with art direction by Vartan and design by Mike Diehl, with production coordination by Beth Stempel.