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

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1124 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jeff Carney
2 stars Nice album for converted Giant freaks, but I'd hesitate to recommend this one to anyone just starting to explore the band. The vocals here can really be a challenge. Take 'Way of Life,' for example, where at *times* (not always, folks) it becomes so bad it is excruciating. Horribly off key to the point of it just being nearly unfathomable that this was released like this instead of reworking the tune. I've never understood why they had Derek Schulman try to sing that melody as it descends, as to my ears, it just isn't part of his possibilities as a singer. Admittedly, I find the tolerance of Giant fans in dealing with some of Schulman's vocals to be truly astonishing, but some of the stuff on this album really pushes the limits of tonation. For some reason, I don't mind his role as a vocalist during the Vertigo period, but after that, it just gets more and more difficult to accept this guy as any kind of lead singer. I suspect the production and mixing techniques were changing and he just became more and more prominent, but make no mistake, it's quite possible that Gentle Giant were never as big as Genesis or Yes or ELP because they didn't have a lead singer good enough to compete in that world. Not because they were too 'complex' (although that may not have helped) or because of some underlying 'conspiracy' by the music industry.

The vocals drag this album down, but also a tendency to get caught up in being super cute with what sometimes feels like every little idea. Giant's 'call and response' technique that they often employ in composition can be lots of fun, but I find it can also get a bit tedious. I far prefer the Vertigo years to this stuff, and I find that there really isn't enough power to much of this music. An odd decision given the fact that you have a player of Gary Green's calibre in the band, but then I suspect that this works for many Giant fans, as this album rates highly. I find it to be vastly inferior to Octopus and Three Friends, and would recommend a newbie to GG start there and work through to albums like this and 'Power and the Glory.'

One could argue that this music is also darn near 'soulless,' so if 'brain' music is your thing, you are probably okay here. Giant can write music that moves the soul, but it's rare, and not really a component of this album at all. Hence, if powerful melodies and emotional depth are big draws in the music that moves you, don't expect that itch to be scratched here.

Jeff Carney | 2/5 |

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