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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant  CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 835 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Gentle Giant emerged on the music scene in 1970 with their eponymous debut. Growing from the ashes of Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, and a desire to not be swayed so much by the trends of pop music, we find a band doing exactly what they wanted to do and already showing a lot of chops doing so - and somehow, they found a record deal!

They were never hugely successful as a band commercially, but now, over 40 years after this album was recorded, their sound is hugely famous in progressive rock. Hear a medieval influence, some counterpoint, complex vocal harmonies, or (lord forbid) 2 or 3 of those in the same song by a modern band, and you can almost hear the reviewers and fans typing out the phrase "Influenced by Gentle Giant" in their reviews.

How did this infamous band start? Well, quite well, actually!

The influences of rock music are the most apparent on this album. The busy vocals are not really utilised, counterpoint isn't quite so evident as it would be in the later part of their career, and they even have a hard rock song (Nothing At All), yet despite these facts the idea that any band other than Gentle Giant could have been responsible for the music contained in this album is a laughable one.

Assured, precise, talented, emotionally evocative - Gentle Giant is all of these things. Giant starts the album off with a bang, with excellent drums and bass really propelling the track foward. Funny Ways demonstrates the more somber, reflective mood of the band that would also give strength to their future prog ballads (and this track would grow to be one of their live favorites as well). Alucard, by contrast, is dark and spooky, with ethereal vocals and aggressive organ and guitar. Nothing At All is the closest to a traditional rock song Gentle Giant would do until their 9th album, when their prog glory days were behind them. Even "The Queen" at the end, a cover of "God Save The Queen" tacked on to the end almost as a joke, shows a band in fine fetter.

A standout track that I rarely see praised but that really helped this album grow on my is the middle track, "Isn't it Quiet and Cold", a playful string-based track with great melody and a distincly british feel to it.

I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1970 to hear this album and not already know that these guys were going to be known - to discover them and hear this music for the first time. To anticipate their later releases and follow this band through their career. To all you who have not yet heard this band but are about to - I am excited for you! This band is one of the best known journeys in progressive rock, and for very good reason - they are a very good band. And their debut is as good a place to start as any (if not the best), for it is chock full of a great variety of music.

Enjoy!

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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