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Gentle Giant - Free Hand  CD (album) cover

FREE HAND

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 999 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Lark the Starless
3 stars "Free Hand" has received mixed feelings from me a number of times. There seems to be something missing that was present in their prior albums; it just doesn't satisfy the listener (me, in this case) quite as well as I thought it would. The album seems to be taking many paths within one song, which in this case, is not particularly a good thing. There is so much going on (plethora of instruments, vocal harmonies) but, it all just emits aimlessly, with no regard for pleasant listening.

However, their "short song formula" never fails to work. I am quite impressed that they are among a few bands that can jam so much into a four minute song and yet make it sound captivating, but not necessarily easy on the ears (especially in this album). Still, I would not recommend this album for the newcomer to GG's music, at least not until listening to their earlier, seminal works. The album as a whole seems inconsistent. As soon as the music finds something good, it does a 180 degree turn towards something completely different. I enjoy the tempo changes but it seems to occur at the most random of places.

Don't get me wrong. Some moments, especially on "On Reflection' and "Talybont", are quite excellent but soon dissipate into something difficult to digest. There is not a track that really stands out. They seem to be "part of the crowd".

Be wary of all those five star ratings for "Free Hand" and try approaching it with caution. Overall, it's a good album, but, it's just that, good. Nothing spectacular and therefore I deem it not essential.

1. "Just the Same" - 8/10

2. "On Reflection" - 7.5/10

3. "Free Hand" - 7/10

4. "Time to Kill" - 7.5/10

5. "His Last Voyage" - 7/10

6. "Talybont" - 8.5/10

7. "Mobile" - 7.5/10

53/7 = 75.71% = 3 stars

Lark the Starless | 3/5 |

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