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Gentle Giant - Free Hand CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.28 | 1476 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Even though In A Glass House is acknowledged by many as Gentle Giant's "best" album, Free Hand is without a doubt my personal favorite. Which is of course to say that it is one of my top 2 or 3 most treasured albums of all time. Simultaneously their most dense, complex, mechanically flawless album AND their most melodic, beautiful and accessible -- Free Hand thus represents a magical occurrence in their catalog like none other. Let's see, for starters, "On Reflection" is hands-down the most complex vocal arrangement in all of rock music, bringing Kerry Minnear's choral writing to its absolute pinnacle of genius. Some people may construe this as "too technical" but I simply shake my head at them in disbelief; this is one of the most achingly beautiful songs they ever recorded, and when the "fugal jam" kicks in at the end, I can hardly keep my head from exploding with joy. If that's not enough already, next comes chugging in the title track "Free Hand". At this point, my head goes and explodes. "Free Hand" is the most mind-blowingly perfect musical machine Gentle Giant ever constructed, filled with ticking clockwork keyboard figures and interweaving guitar and bass parts and skwonking piano chords and start-stop time changes and, and... three words: pure musical perfection. Then there's "His Last Voyage", which has at times been my favorite song ever written. I don't know where those melodies and sounds and voices came from, but they existed before time and they call me back to some distant memory that leaves me filled with joy and reverence for the sublime power of music. Thank you, Gentle Giant. So here I've just described three songs, but the remaining four are each in their own way a magical experience, with "Time to Kill" and "Just the Same" taking top billing. If you have any respect for the sincere blessings of this devout music fan, go do yourself a big favor and buy this album and listen to it for the first time. Or, pull it out of your record collection and listen to it again as if for the first time. One of the peak musical achievements our times have witnessed.
corbet | 5/5 |


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