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

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1116 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Peter
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IN A GLASS HOUSE is Gentle Giant's fifth album, and the fully-realized product of a band at the height of their creative and musical powers. It's an essential part of their core catalog of weird and wonderful releases from their 1972 to '76 heyday.

Giant's eccentric sound (which is, of course, unlike that of any of their prog contemporaries) had firmly solidified by their fourth release, OCTOPUS. The band knew what kind of music they wanted to make, and they enjoyed the unbridled artistic freedom to do so. They certainly weren't afraid to experiment, and to combine their many musical influences, from rock, to jazz to classical and renaissance, into a new -- and frankly bizarre -- hybrid. In short, at their best Gentle Giant were true originals who fearlessly blazed their own trail,. First and foremost, they sought to please themselves with their wonderfully strange music. If some open-minded listeners actually happened to "get it" and bought their albums and attended their concerts, then so much the better, but commercial success was never the band's primary goal. To this day, Gentle Giant's vocalist and front man Derek Shulman expresses surprise that their oddball music managed to find a fairly large, appreciative fan base. A major part of their relative success had to be the times; things were different in the rock world of the early to mid 70s, and experimentation, for artists and listeners alike, was often the order of the day. It's hard to imagine a risk-taking modern-day equivalent of Gentle Giant finding major-label backing and total creative freedom, let alone a sizable and dedicated fan base.

IN A GLASS HOUSE, then, is the masterful issue of that happy marriage of utter freedom and creativity with outstanding musicianship. Because I grew up on the "left" side of the Atlantic, I never had this album "back in the day," and was unaware of it, despite my being a committed Giant follower. (IN A GLASS HOUSE was originally unreleased in North America.) It was quite a revelation for me to experience this seamless, fantastic album just a few years ago, when I bought the re-mastered 35th Anniversary Edition. (This fine edition boasts excellent sound and instrumental definition, plus a wonderful '76 live recording of "Experience." That they could routinely do this convoluted stuff note-for-note, night after night on stage further demonstrates just how consummately talented the Giant men were as musicians.) Track for track, this is undoubtedly one of the very best Gentle Giant works, and particularly strong songs such as "The Runaway," "Way of Life," "Experience" and the title track easily rate with the anything from their best albums.

Overall, IN A GLASS HOUSE just might be my favourite Gentle Giant album. It easily warrants five stars as a "masterpiece of progressive rock." Not to be missed!

Peter | 5/5 |

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