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Gentle Giant - Free Hand  CD (album) cover

FREE HAND

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 1021 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
5 stars It has taken me quite some time to re-immerse myself into the GG catalogue. I have enjoyed every minute of it. Especially with this one. IMHO, Gentle Giant peaks with this album. The compositions and performances are so masterful and mature, so polished and sublime. Gone are the flashy, cerebral, ever-so complicated, show-off-your-virtuosity-because-you-can songs, here are unique, so intricate

"Just the Same" (9/10) displays some new instruments, the best recording/mix/engineering to date on a GG album, a more laid back feel to the band's song delivery, yet with all band members' virtuosity on full display--especially Ray Shulman at his absolute best on bass.

"On Reflection" (9/10) is not as overboard or "masturbatory" as some reviewers complain. It is tidy, melodic, makes lyrical sense, and does an amazing job of transporting one to a time long past. I find this one much more accessible than "So Sincere."

"Free Hand" (9/10) founds itself on such a nice little weave--complex but subdued, never over-powering or overwhelming, and the vocal part is, for me, one of the most powerful and emotional of the GG repertoire.

"TIme to Kill" (8/10) is kind of an early version of the music brought to us by Fripp-Levin-Belew six years later on "Discipline." A maturely constructed and performed song, it does get a bit boring and/or tedious from time to time.

"His Last Voyage" (10/10) is like Steely Dan supporting a monastic choir--so well paced and subtlely constructed. Definitely a band at their most mature, most composed and confident--with nothing left to prove. Mastery has been achieved and here are the just desserts.

"Talybont" (9/10) is a very fun little jaunt through the medieval world--like going to a Renaissance Faire. Well mete, lads!

"Mobile" (7/10) feels older--as if it came from the "Three Friends" or "Octopus" recording period. A little more youthful rock'n'roll oriented, less mature and introspective.

Kerry Minnear's keyboards, Ray Shulman's bass, and John Weathers' drumming have never been better than they are on Free Hand. This one is a masterpiece of one of the most truly masterful bands in rock music history. 5 stars.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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