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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1869 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After a problematic disc as Three Friends, arrives Octopus, where the songs have been simplified by structure, arrangements and duration. The deflagrating guitar solos and the drums solos of the previous albums are totally missing. The dominance of Minnear is complete: instrumental variations even those hard rock are completely entrusted to his keyboards, which more often have math rock little pieces.

The violins are still present in two songs, one on each side. Knots' vocal and rhythmic interweaving is remarkable. The only piece that aspires to remember the long hard rock pieces of the past is River, where the guitar is less powerful but reaches a great rock charge, and it is then quickly goes around again to math rock, albeit with interesting interludes. The winds have an important role only in three songs, the best on the album. The album has therefore lost any symphonic orchestral connotation of the previous ones, especially the first two.

GG are arrived at a formal progressive song formally perfect, of medium length, driven by keyboards, with changes of rhythms and arrangements (violins, winds) unpredictable but overall very composed and measured, with some moments of pathos very beautiful although immediately shredded by intermezzos math rock or complicated vocal harmonies.

It is not a case that this album is the favourite of classic rock fans: it has not the typical faults of progressive rock: it is not pretentious, it does not dilate the times and the duration of the sound solutions. It is a layered album, with many complex formal solutions, but all within medium and "light" songs, which do not require particularly demanding listening (especially the first three of the second side)

The first song is excellent, the best of the album, with continuous changes of rhythm, vocal harmonies and passages from the melodic to the hard powerful rock. The second song is in the style of Funny Ways but less melodic, more rhythmic, and more unpredictable. The third song is a fairly simple rock where the keyboards alternate with the strophes sung with continuous improvisation. The fourth piece is difficult, an exercise in style for vocal harmonies and rhythm, but with remarkable instrumental passages, which in some cases reach a great pathos.

Side A: 1) The advent of Panurge 8+; 2) Raconteur, Troubadour 8; 3) A cry for everyone 7,5; 4) Knots 7,5/8:

The second side is lighter than the first: it begins with an instrumental song, good, then there is the piece more easy listening, with a very simple melody. Then arrive one of the most romantic songs of the GG, Think of Me With Kindness, which has moments of great pathos, this is a song that speaks to the heart, but when the melody become too much pathetic arrive the cerebral math rock variations of Minnear, that partially ruins the pathos. Anyway, a very romantic and delicate song. The second side in this way is very melodic but in the end arrive The River, the only track of long duration: not a particular inspirend song but with great instrumental passages, that make more heavy the final of the album.

Side B: 5) The boys in the band 7+; 6) Dog's life 7; 7) Think of me with kindness 8; 8) River 8;

Medium Quality: 7,72. Vote: 8,5. Four stars

jamesbaldwin | 4/5 |


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