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


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.34 | 1635 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I do love this album, however it is not their best, by a long shot. I prefer Free Hand and Octopus, they have no weaknesses, however this has one, and it takes up the place of an entire song: that weakness is An Inmate's Lullaby. It is GG's strangest song, but by far the worst of their classic era, it almost tops So Sincere on the crap-o-meter. Anyway, now with the negatives out of the way, we can get down to the good stuff!

The album starts astoundingly with ear-splitting simulated glass-breaking sounds, and then into the fantastic song Runaway. This is one of my very favourite GG songs, for many reasons: the two things I love the most though arise from Minnear's brilliance on the keyboards and the marimba. First of all, the run down on the lower organ in the main theme, such simplicity and so short, but unbelievably effective, secondly, the very jazz-based marimba solo in the middle. An excellent start.

I've already said my piece on An Inmate's Lullaby.

Way of Life is the most rock n roll on the album, with a fast-paced and dare I say it, cheesy riff and progressing into some really nice changes: of these include some virtuose guitar playing from Gary Green, tight drumming from Weathers and an amazing middle section that is in the symphonic vein, with some very pleasant melody and powerful organ from Minnear. Overall I could prog-rocker, generic GG complexity and some real bite.

Experience is once again a true classic, it has two of the greatest prog riffs of all time, this really proves GG as riff writers as well as straightforward composers. Gary Green really shines on this track with a classic guitar solo to penultimate the track. I really love the simplistic bass work overlapping the main riff, 3 minutes in. The Baroque sections also have a glowing charm to them, although they can get a little boring at times. Still a commendable track, and another one of my favourites: the riffs are to die for!

A Reunion is a bit like a chamber music filler that gives you a little break between two big songs. Once again, Kerry Minnear's orchestrational skills show through here, and give you even more reason to love the guy.

In A Glass House is by far THE BEST GENTLE GIANT SONG EVER COMPOSED. There is no weak point to this song; it is just the perfect prog rocker. Shame on anyone who tries to slate it! The song is divided into two halves, the first part complex in arrangement and harmony, with clever use of violins and a 12-string, the second part consisting another great riff, and very addictive, beware! The first half is very complex, no theme is repeated more than twice, and even when it is it's tweaked slightly. This is the opposite of boring, all of the musicians are at their prime (apart from Weathers, who reaches his prime on Knots IMO) here, and it is bliss to listen to. The second half is the best bit though. Words cannot describe the genial ability of these guys: the riff is in 29/8 and you can still groove to it! Enough said, I really don't want to spoil it for you.

Overall, a very strong album with one massive hole in the middle, but that is overshrouded by the other songs. I will have to give this a 5star rating, as it would be an insult to give it any less. Buy Free Hand or Octopus before this though, easily accessible and they are generally better IMHO.

The Pessimist | 5/5 |


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