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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover

OCTOPUS

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 1197 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars First love always seems sweeter.

This was my first Gentle Giant album but was part of a rush that eventually spanned the first five albums. Despite numerous very strong tracks, none of the albums have matched this one top to bottom. This album features John Weathers on drums, a wiry burst of energy that added fire to the mix, and is the last featuring the eldest Shulman. Perhaps it is his presence that provide the quirkiness and emphasis on medieval flavor that is less prominent on the follow-up In a Glass House. The songs here are all quite distinct, though as you explore GG's catalog, all reflect the band's sound quite well.

1. The Advent Of Panurge (4:45) (10/10) This one has it all, the remarkable vocal interplay, the staccato keyboard work, the medieval flavor. And the overall sense of wierdness that brands GG like no other band. A great intro to the band.

2. Raconteur Troubadour (4:03) (8.5/10) Continues the medieval flavor, but is a little mellower. The odd rhythm feel remains and the song feels like it is tripping over itself. It takes a few listens to enjoy, but is an excellent continuation and shift from the opener.

3. A Cry For Everyone (4:06) (6/10) My least favorite track on the album. GG's heavy guitar riffs almost never do alot for me and this is no exception. I'm also not a fan of vocals following a rhythm guitar (I dislike the verse of Iron Man for this reason.) But the song contains several other elements that are quite good.

4. Knots (4:11) (15/10) - the crown of the GG catalog, and of the classic prog era in general. Like the tentacles of the title creature, the vocals weave in and out in odd rhythm showcasing the utter brilliance of these guys. At first listen, the opening seems a little calculated, which it no doubtedly was, but by the time the weaving hits the end with the chorus I'm afraid the emotion and energy are at a high.

5. The Boys In The Band (4:34) (9/10) - A great instrumental that covers alot of territory and until I read reviews here, I actually hadn't realized there were no vocals. It was just part of the cohesive whole that is this album.

6. Dog's Life (3:13) - (6/10) an attempt at humor that wears thin lyrically after a couple of listens that the rest of the album requires, but the acoustic guitar theme is great and the lightheartedness sets a nice contrast within the album as a whole.

7. Think Of Me With Kindness (3:31) - (9/10) though much more simple in structure than most of the rest of the songs, this is a beautiful ballad that does not seem out of place at all. One of my favorite prog ballads.

8. River (5:52) - (9/10) another good prototypical GG song with some heavier elements but overall just showcases the breadth of the band's sound to close the album.

One of the amazing things about this band is how much they pack into relatively short songs. There is so much going on here I have never looked back and said wow that was too short. Despite a few small dips, the level of interest remains at almost a max level for most of the album, something I can't say for the higher rated Glass House. The dips are also not as distracting as on the first two albums. Perhaps if Three Friends or Power and the Glory had been my introduction to GG, my opinion would differ, as they are both faves of mine, but as it is Octopus is one of my desert island albums.

The fact that this is the album with Knots makes it a prog classic. But there is much more here than that. Among the top ten or even top 5 prog albums of all time.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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