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


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1714 ratings

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The Runaway
4 stars There's two of us now!

In a Glass House is Gentle Giant's first album after Phil Shulman's departure, after the Three Friends album was released in 1972. The album features a drastical musical improvement, or, at least, a very new musical direction. It can be called a combination of Rush, Can, Genesis, some jazz, some avant-garde, some Handl (the medieval one), some classical, and, blues (as usual, contributed by Gary Green).

The album starts with glass shatters, probably indicating that the character of the so-called story lives In a Glass House, as the album title suggests. The glass then evolves into a loop, later adding Kerry Minnear's usual Hammond sound, and then, BLAST, The Runaway begins. Some of you may notice I actually named myself on Progarchives after this track. Too bad Gentle Giant sort of got rid of their famous vocal harmonies (Prologue, Three Friends, Wreck, Alucard, Knots), since Phil left, and became more musically evolved, and sort of, devolved vocally, until 1975, when they released Free Hand that features vocal masterpiece, On Reflection. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the only vocal harmonies provided on the album are on this track, and 30 seconds long.

An Inmate's Lullaby is, in my opinion, the worst track on the album. It's pretty dull, boring, repetitive, odd, and annoying. In this song we discover that the Glass House is actually a loony bin, a mad house, or however you want to call it, and The Runaway is actually an escaped loon. The person whose role is sung by Kerry Minnear, is pretty creepy, judging by the lyrics. This song may sound a bit like Yes, but it's mostly Phil Shulman-era GG.

Way of Life is pretty normal, and does not really contribute to the story of the album, and also, the last 4 minutes are pretty dull, but overall, it's a pretty great track. If it wasn't so repetitive in the end I'd have liked it more. Same here regarding the music, pretty much classic GG, combined with Int'rview era GG, Yes, Triumvirat, and ELP.

Experience is a track, that I think tells the story of a man, that from a young innocent boy, became a hurtful insane person. The song starts with something reminiscent of GG in the next 2 years, then, in the heavy part, becomes very reminiscent of Three Friends and the debut, with heavy riffing guitars and Derek Shulman taking the lead vocal part. Also, the last 2 lines of the song bear a resemblence to On Reflection (Once I could rebel and consequences then had no reflection, and I am a man, And I am bound by adult age discretion. Now)

A Reunion could possibly be called my favorite song on the album, maybe after the title track. I believe the song tells the tale of two lovers that met again in the madhouse and fell in love once more. This is classic Kerry Minnear material!

And now, my final song review for the album, the title track, In A Glass House! This is by far the most eclectic song Gentle Giant have ever written! Around 10 time signatures, 265 words, and 20 chords are featured in this single 8 and a half minute track! This song is the coda, the song to end the story of this album, the song where everything comes into one! Finally, Gary Green's bluesy roots are used to their maximum, and yes, you guessed it (or not), there's a ton of mandolin parts!

So that's the end of my review. Personally, if I had to tell someone what GG sounded like, I'd come up to then, hand them a burned CD with only the final track on the album and On Reflection, and say, listen to this, it's good.

When I started writing the review I thought that I'd rate it 5 stars because it's so awesome, but this review made me understand this album still has some flaws, so, 4 stars for Gentle Giant's In a Glass House!

The Runaway | 4/5 |


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