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

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1132 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
5 stars While this album sadly loses the warmth and playfulness of their earlier recordings, there can be no doubt that 'In a Glass House' was Gentle Giant's finest moment. 1973, the year that gave you classics like Caravan's 'For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night', ELP's 'Brain Salad Surgery', Genesis's 'Selling England By The Pound', Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and Yes's 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' now brings you this masterpiece album. I own the Alucard CD, which was remastered as late as 2009! The remastering is the best I have ever heard, and the songs actually sound like they were recorded yesterday. Everything is crystal clear, and there is not even any tape hiss!

Beginning with the raw sound of breaking glass, The Runaway is surely very easy on the ears for fans of Yes, Genesis and the like. The playing throughout is extroadinary, and is very close in sound to the 'natural' prog sound, whatever that is. The beat is constantly kept up, although time signatures are obviously changed. The song flows perfectly from riff to riff. This is a flawless start to an amazing album.

Gentle Giant had done 'creepy' before with songs like Edge of Twilight and Schooldays. However, An Inmate's Lullaby never fails to give me goosebumps. Utilising extremely eerie vocal effects, this song is the musical definition of claustrophobic. Though the instruments sound quiet, they feel extremely close, and often there are two people singing at the same time, making it harder to work out what's going on. The lyrics are horrifying too, and sound as if they are read by a simple person: 'Eating flowers growing in the garden where there are tasty tulips and I don't care if I wet my trousers'. The sentences all run together. Scarier too are lyrics like 'Hurt myself this morning, doctor gave me warning', and I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying'. This one could give you nightmares, which is why it is utter genious.

The antidote to this scariness is a bit of fun. The next track Way Of Life starts with someone shouting 'GO!' The 4/4 starting riff makes this track sound much lighter than the last track. Of course the song doesn't stay in 4/4 for long. This song is actually the closest I think Gentle Giant came to sounding cool! At about the 2:30 mark, the song changes to a very different sound, which will define the beautiful outro, but not before another repeat of the introduction to the song. After the outro though is something completely different. In fact the final 1:40 is just Kerry Minnear playing something ghastly on the keys, and I don't like it at all, but I don't let it ruin the otherwise fantastic song.

Experience is a track that slowly builds up to something superb. While not as instantly gripping as it's other 7 minute counterparts, this track is nonetheless enjoyable all the way through, and there's a great guitar solo towards the end of the track. If you need more reason to listen to this song, there is a section in 6 2/3 over 4, and the outro is in 9/4.

Beginning with a heartbeat - coincidentally the beginning to the Floyd album released in the same year - A Reunion is Gentle Giants chance to take a breather. This is an acoustic track, with only acoustic guitar, bass guitar and violins being used. There's nothing particularly interesting about this track, but it creates a very welcome change in atmosphere in the record.

The title track In a Glass House is my favourite on the record, simply because of the great themes used. This track uses many different genres as inspiration, and you'll hear tempo, instrumentation, time signature and mood change several times within this track. This track actually feels more like two songs joined together, at about 4:15. Both parts are very cool, but musically they don't coincide at all. Afterwards there is an outro to the album using clips from all 6 songs, and the sound of smashing glass once again.

'In a Glass House' seems extremely different to the groups earlier albums, more serious and somehow far more proggy. This fine album showcases some of Gentle Giant's best compositions, but more fantastic songs were on their way. To me though, this is their magnum opus.

baz91 | 5/5 |

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