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


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.36 | 1518 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Though often considered Gentle Giant's best release, I find In a Glass House to be a flawed and less lovable album than Free Hand and Octopus.

Now don't get me wrong. Gentle Giant has one of the strongest discographies of any prog band I've ever run across (at least until 1977 or so). Saying that this album is more flawed and less lovable than the two aforementioned is like saying that George Harrison is a slightly less famous Beatles member. In the end, it doesn't matter, because if you enjoy about any Gentle Giant album, you need to come to this one, too. The highly experimental nature of the previous albums is starting to segue to a much tighter and more band-oriented feel on this album. In truth, a hard rock sound is starting to creep into this album, giving it both wild complexity and irresistible energy. For the most part. Most hopeless prog nerds (like myself) would look at this album first of their discography, most likely, due to the longer tracks. However, sometimes their longer compositions lose the power and effectiveness that their less meandering songs before and after this album have.

The album opens with The Runaway, a pretty good track by Gentle Giant standards, though nothing particularly inspiring or different. The xylophones on this track are pretty well written, though. And speaking of xylophones, An Inmate's Lullaby plays with some absolutely gorgeous melodies on that instrument. This track is one of the two gentle (again, no pun intended) songs on the album, featuring quiet voices and rather not aggressive harmonies. A very nice track, though it is in the end quite eclipsed by the stronger songs on In a Glass House. The side wraps up with Way of Life, a song apparently many don't appreciate so much. However, I find the band's energy and intriguing composition more than make up for the few weak vocal moments. Some spacey keyboard sequences conclude the song and the side of the LP.

The second half is much stronger, I believe. It kicks off with Experience, a less intense and much more weird song. Tightly unraveled composition (I know no other way to describe it) holds together threads that do not seem to want to fit right. It's one of Gentle Giant's trademarks, and this is one of the prime examples of this style. Wonderful piano and electric guitar in the middle and towards the end bring back the sense of drama and energy. A Reunion picks up the pieces after that song ends, providing soft orchestral backing to a quiet vocal melody, something like Think of Me with Kindness but not quite as impressive. In a Glass House, arguably the greatest song on the album, kicks off with some highly complicated guitar/bass/keys/drums interplay in the way that only this band can do. All throughout the song, complex parts are interwoven and bring out one nice track that probably is one of the most eclectic songs written by Gentle Giant in this era. And it has cowbell.

In the end, this album is wonderful. Anyone, a fan of Gentle Giant or someone completely unaware of the band, can enjoy this. I'd recommend Free Hand or Octopus first, but this is undeniably one of the better albums ever to grace the 70s.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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