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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover

OCTOPUS

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 1260 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

wbiphoto
4 stars Ah, Octopus! A quirky and controversial album that will get the prog heads debating for hours!

First of all, let me say that GG is my favorite prog band, sharing that top spot with Genesis. However, I am NOT fanatical about their work and do recognize their shortcomings; and Octopus has a few.

The record opens with one of GG's most well known pieces: The Advent Of Panurge. An absolute masterpiece showcasing Minnear's funky keys and the boys doing some of their very best vocal harmonies. Sadly, the rest of the album doesn't come close to the quality of the opener.

The second and third songs, namely Raconteur Troubadour and A Cry For Everyone are very good and don't do a whole lot to diminish from the opening track. But, from the fourth piece, the HIGHLY overrated Knots, onward the music gets very gloomy and downright depressing. I'm a big fan of Jethro Tull and Renaissance and enjoy the folkier side of English Prog, but this GG record is not on par with the best of that sub genre.

Another knock I have against Octopus are the length of the songs: 8 pieces in 34 minutes and 15 seconds. Doing the math yields an average of four minute songs! You may say that the length of a song has nothing to do with its worth and that is true. But, in the case of Octopus the songs don't flow very well after the third piece. IMO, the album is downright difficult to listen to beyond the third song. The record would be much stronger had the band created a longer song, with more energy at the fourth spot and carried that energy toward the record's conclusion. Contrary to many opinions I think that Knots is a silly song that tries to be a bit to artsy and fails miserably. GG did much better vocal harmonizing in later albums.

Octopus suffers from weak, experimental compositions that don't add much to the listening experience. I'm having a really hard time deciding what rating to give this CD. It certainly does not merit five stars since it's far from a masterpiece. Three stars would put it in that category that tells readers of this review to pass it up. I don't want to do that. So, I will give it FOUR STARS since the first three songs are excellent with the opener being one of the best songs in the history of prog.

wbiphoto | 4/5 |

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