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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant  CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 798 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AdamHearst
2 stars This is not a bad debut for Gentle Giant, but nowhere near their best. This is not a good place to start if you're just discovering them. To my ears it's more a Hard Rock record than a Prog Rock record. Still it's highly original and inventive Hard Rock.

Giant begins the album on a strong note with a heavy Hammond Organ / guitar riff. The music is good here, and quite intricate, but the song gets repetitive and dull after awhile. The band obviously had very fresh and original ideas, but their songwriting wasn't quite developed enough on this first album. Giant feels too long.

Funny Ways is a much better composition. The song is slower, softer, more moody and melancholic and has an amazing rainy-day atmosphere. Sad acoustic guitar strumming and beautiful violins mesh with excellent vocals that actually remind me of Paul McCartney at times. The style displayed on this song would be further developed and perfected on their second album, Acquiring the Taste. There's a nice middle-section with one of the band's better rock guitar solos as well.

Alucard is my favorite song on this debut. It starts with an excellent dirty and acidic-sounding Moog synth riff. After the heavy intro the song morphs into an absolutely creepy verse section with startling backwards-reverb vocal harmonies that still send a shiver down my spine every time I hear them. It's the most experimental the band would get this early in their recorded history and it's the highlight on their entire debut! More heavy/dirty syncopated synth riffs follow mixed with sweet brass and a few good organ solos... parts of this song could belong to the Heavy Prog genre.

After the very imaginative opening three tracks the band seem to lose the plot and the rest of the album is quite a generic 70's Hard Rock record interspersed with a few softer sections. The second side does nothing for me sadly.

I would suggest listening to their more advanced later works first (from Acquiring the Taste 'to Interview) before giving this one a listen. It's not a total wash thanks to 'Alucard' and 'Funny Ways' but this is only essential listening for Gentle Giant maniacs.

2.5 stars... the best was yet to come, but their future brilliance is definitely foreshadowed here.

AdamHearst | 2/5 |

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