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Gentle Giant - Free Hand  CD (album) cover

FREE HAND

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 997 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars While better known prog rock bands (ELP, KING CRIMSON, YES) were visibly running out of steam, GENTLE GIANT continued to stay on their original course, sharpening their skills and releasing consistently excellent albums quietly and (seemingly) effortlessly. As fans might expect, "Free Hand" is a further tightening up of the music found on their last album, "The Power and The Glory", leaving the concept behind and focusing on bright, medieval-tinged rock replete with the clever twists and tortuous passages that fans had come to expect. Whether you regard the band's music by now as idiomatic or merely formulaic, they bring the same skills to bear on every song, which prevents a "hit" or representative track from emerging but also provides uniform pleasure from end to end. The largely vocal exercise, "On Reflection", does stand out; the impassioned "Free Hand" and the languid "The Last Voyage" are impressive ends of the spectrum; even the instrumental "Talybont" has too much personality to be dismissed as a mere medieval interlude.

"Free Hand" remains as concise a case for their talents as any album; Rolling Stone even rated it the band's best album (although their view of progressive rock came through a distorted lens). Apparently, the band liked the album enough to use it as a template for their next release, "Interview".

daveconn | 4/5 |

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