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Gentle Giant - In A Glass House CD (album) cover

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1103 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

moreitsythanyou
5 stars Today by chance we meet again after all this time With the unmistakable introduction of shattering glass, Gentle Giant usher in their fifth studio album. This album takes a much different direction than its predecessor Octopus. It has new influences and fresher sound. In my opinion, it is a great improvement and the new instruments and styles are a welcome addition to Gentle Giant's distinctive, quirky sound. The vocals remain the highlight, but I think that the other instruments get their part of the limelight starting here. This album is easily one of the most original works that has been created and a lot of fun to listen to due to its bouncing melodies and great rhythm section.

What I really enjoy about this album is the energy level. Songs like "Way of Life" just put me in a good mood. It steers clear of the dissonant harmonies that mark the band's later career and the interaction of the instruments has a very good effect. The instrumentation is superb on that track and the organ works so well with the guitar. This is consistant throughout the album. Another consistant element that sets this album apart is the vocal quality. From harmonies to melodies, this album has it all for lovers of great vocals. "An Inmates Lullaby" uses this to its advantage and transforms a very quiet and understated piece played mainly on a percussion instrument. It derives most of its power from the strong vocal performances. However, the key vocal piece is "A Reunion." It has to be one of the most hauntigly beautiful songs that has been made ever. Derek Shulman is top notch here as he delievers powerhouse vocals that sends this ballad soaring through the listener's mind. Therefore, the track is minimalistic in its violin- based instrumentation, yet a force-packed performance overall through Shulman's vocal passion and skill.

This album gets very creative. It experiements with time signatures, odd melodies, unusual instruments, and longer tracks. I find that "Experience" captures this creative spirit. The main melody is slightly dissonant, yet melodic. Using tones on guitar and keyboards, different sounds make different atmospheres that the song weaves through. It also showcases a dynamic quality that is hard to find, especially at that time. Similarly, "In a Glass House," the closest the band got to a true epic, uses the same dynamic and energetic style and the result is one of the most catchy songs that the band has created. The intro is a burst of chaotic frivolity with prancing violins to set the stage for this diverse song.

The album was excellent and innovative, paving the way for Gentle Giant to flourish in their new direction of shorter bursts of melodic energy. This album just totally works for me because it is so enjoyable to listen to. If you have yet to discover Gentle Giant, this is a perfect introduction to the band because they go on to develop the sound formed on this album, but this is where they set themselves apart and forged their own identity in the world of progressive rock. It's their first masterpiece and is so because it has great use of instruments (and voice) in addition to making songs that are both innovative and... for lack of a better term... a lot of fun. Recommended for the prog fan looking for sometihng to brighten his or her day due to both upbeat songs and realizing that they are listening to something that is truly great.

moreitsythanyou | 5/5 |

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