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Gentle Giant - Three Friends CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 1156 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Gentle Giant's third album 'Three Friends' is a concept album. The story is rather simple: three friends at school inevitably separated by chance, skill and fate. That's it, and in fact the concept is rather charming in it's simplicity. The music, of course, is far from simple. We are treated to a healthy dose of prog rock magic from the band on this album.

The album starts with the perfectly proggy Prologue. There is nothing to complain about on this track at all. This song is also the first instance of Gentle Giant using a cappella singing, a device that would make songs like Knots and On Reflection the classics they are. The playing is all very technical, just as it should be on this mainly instrumental track.

Schooldays is the most serious track on the album. Quite seriously epic too. The first three minutes are light and fluffy with fun lyrics about schooldays. The arrangements are quite complex but don't take away from the song at all. Then at about three minutes, the mood completely changes, and the song takes a very sombre turn. I certainly wasn't expecting this, and some of the lyrics are very haunting: Mister Watson wants to see you in the master's room. It's about the work you should have done and I think you must go now. Brrrr. Afterwards, the song returns to normal, but leaves you quite disturbed. Fantastic!

Working All Day runs the risk of sounding like Wreck off the last album. I think it just pulls it off though. While the verses are nothing to shout about, the instrumental is quite good; the music builds up slowly to a fully fledged virtuoso keyboard solo.

For me, the best song on the album is Peel The Paint. The song beginds quietly, and you can hear tension being built, even in the supposedly serene instrumental sections. Then all of a sudden, at 2:22, the song explodes into something completely different altogether. Much like Van Der Graaf Generator's Man-Erg this louder part of the song symbolises the evil side of the character in the song. Gary Green has delivered a fantastic guitar solo on the first two alubms, and he's not about to stop now. The guitar solo on this song, accompanied by Malcolm Mortimore's rock'n'roll drumming is the highlight of the album for me.

Mister Class And Quality? is another chance for Gentle Giant to show how good they are with their instruments. The instrumental shows a lot of creativity, and this is an incredibly fun song.

The album finishes with Three Friends, which is basically an epilogue to the story. The complex melody essentially repeats itself until fade, which is a bit uncreative, but it is quite an epic sound.

Had this not been a concept album, I would have given this 4 stars or 8.5/10 for the music alone, but with the wonderfully simple story, I feel obliged to give it the 'masterpeice' rating. This is one of my favourite concept albums.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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