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

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.36 | 1518 ratings

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steamhammeralltheway
4 stars Make it 3.75 stars, truthfully; I'm a pretty critical listener. This album is growing on me. Presently it trails their others in my appreciation. The band has the tendency here to recycle their wackier motifs. Giant from time to time descended into complete absurdity and geekiness. In a Glass House has plenty such moments. They already occur in the 2nd and 3rd tracks, "Inmate's Lullaby" and "Way of Life," though a Renaissance section and a more mature development ultimately redeem that particular track.

The album, built around breaking glass noises, opens with a bang for sure, the breaking glass noises morphing into similarly toned synthesizer lines of a sort the band hasn't employed before. The vocal melody is very fresh and sensitive. The layered instrumentation in Giant fashion consists of voices and textures the band hasn't used much before either. There is some tedium in the middle as the band gets a little overindulgent and geeky. Then a very odd vocal redeems, and the ensuing instrumentation is quite rich. The frenetic xylophone is a pretty tired Giant trick, but it doesn't get much chance to detract. Synthesizer keeps the song moving forwards, and a haunting vocal re-enters.

"Experience" fires off a bunch of completely mind-blowing contrapuntal lines. The band's sense of timing is incredible for most members to able to lay down very short but significant musical ideas in rapid succession. This song is far from perfect, though, I feel I need to say. The soulful passages would be more so if they didn't contain melody recycled from prior Giant work.

"Reunion" is a touching number featuring Kerry's beautiful voice. Things are picking up in tune-writing and instrumentation and stay in a decent vein all the way through the closer, the title track. Renaissance stylings, always a band strength, help. An excellent touch is the ancient strains being paired with a bebop type saxophone. In typical Giant fashion of great contrasts and development within single songs, there are a few more sections, largely rockier and soulful and opening new territory for this always forward thinking ensemble, right up to a final, rather contrived glass break.

steamhammeralltheway | 4/5 |

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