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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.29 | 1742 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Gentle Giant's Octopus is a great album, covering everything that's great about Gentle Giant. Magnificent vocal harmonies, fabulous drum patterns, good bass-play, great symphonification of the sound. Gentle Giants sound is comprised of rock music, fused with classical music, medieval music, and jazz, and even some folk here and there, all in the typical, frantic, Gentle Giant style. Octopus is a great record to have, but it takes several listenings before you have heard everything that's going on in the music.

The music on Octopus changes franticly, almost fluidly from one segment to another, with each segment hardly ever longer than 30 seconds or so. Gentle Giant doesn't need time to develop a tune, they jump right in the heart of the matter, and before you've grown accustomed to the rhythm and the melodie of a segment it changes into something faster, slower, or just completely different. A great feature that keeps listening to Gentle Giant, and this album in particular, a surprising experience.

Unsurprisingly, Octopus has eight opuses on the album, beginning with 1. The Advent Of Panurge (4:40) starting with a great soft vocal part, the song soon changes into a jazzy affair, with great intricate piano play, and two vocals intertwining, great song. 2. Raconteur Troubadour (3:59) Again great vocals, accompagnied by great keyboard play, fabulous 'classical' segment with violins and some horns give it a little medieval atmosphere in the middle.

3. A Cry For Everyone (4:02) The first real rock song, with a great guitar riff, good vocals, and the organ playing some great solo's, a very energetic rock song, fabulous. 4. Knots (4:09) complex almost accapella piece, with several vocal lines running through each other, augmented with instrumental pieces and parts, a great piece of music.

5. The Boys In The Band (4:32) Fast Jazz-rock piano play, with frantic rhythms and structure underneath, great guitar, and fabulous interplay from the boys in the band. 6. Dog's Life (3:10) A fun piece, with classical orchestration providing the core of the song, alternated with a short accoustic guitar line and beautifull vocals. My favourite track on this album, a great song about man's best friend.

7. Think Of Me With Kindness (3:33) A soft piano based ballad, not as complex as the other songs, some nice moments, but aside the piano play not all that great. 8. River (5:54) A mix song, mostly rock, but in a weird way, evoling gradually from intense to abstract and back to intense, with some experimentation with sounds, moving from speaker to speaker. Strange song, and certainly not immediatly likeble.

It's amazing how Gentle Giant manages to squeeze so many different styles and elements into four minute songs, without the songs losing cohesion, or becoming too abstract. a great album, and very much recommended to all who love music that's somewhat challenging, and who are willing to give an album several spins before finally judging it.

Complex, Challenging and great Fun. despite my strong recommendation I will not give the album more than four stars, for a couple of reasons, being, the last two songs, both are good songs, but not very good compared to the other six songs. the difficulty factor, it took several spins before it really appealed to me, a masterpiece requires no effort, and is immediatly recognised. And because I listen to Gentle Giant very rarely, I have to be in the mood, and have the time too listen to the music and concentrate on it, for else the beauty eludes me.

I think Octopus is a good start into Gentle Giants music, and everyone should at least try Gentle Giant once, to see if it appleases them. Recommended, but not for everyone I think.

tuxon | 4/5 |


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