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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 1320 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3 1/2 stars

Maybe it's just me, but I always felt that the song "Giant" holds much resemblance to anything Blood, Sweat & Tears could have done if they were more progressive: Those great jazzy fanfares at the chorus and the vocals that sound a lot like Clayton-Thomas announcing the "Giant's arrival". But then they turn into King Crimson on the bridge with some tasty minimalistic mellotron notes until they reach the major fanfare with renaissance choral; If King Crimson certainly were the band that influenced the implementation of the polyphonic high-mediaeval or renaissance elements in rock music, these guys brought it to full life, although it would not be until around the "Octopus" album that they will exploit them along with the use of fugues and canons in the majority of the arrangements.

In this album "Giant" and "Why Not?" were the main glimpses of what they will become later on. Here, mostly, the album is a swell collection of ballads and rockers. "Funny Ways" and "Isn't it Quiet and Cold" have great usage of cellos, with the latter being reminiscent of the 30's ballads. "Alucard" sounds like a mix of early and late King Crimson, and also has the spookiest vocal harmonies of the album. The one song that I did not like much was "Nothing At All": it starts like another good ballad and then turns into a rocker monster (and they know how to rock without abusing it), but after the strong part of the song they insert a drum solo with electronic effects and a background piano put there for no reason; it's the weakest part of the album, since the tape tricks really spoil the average drum solo and the piano really brings nothing musically when put together with the rythm: it's just musical gibberish. "Why Not" would have been a great track if it hadn't been a reworking of the "Nothing At All" rocking riff, although the classical organ feeds really brings it up a notch, along with a breathtaking bridge featuring the pan flutes. Finally the album's coda is a re-arrangement of the brittish anthem "The Queen" (God Save The Queen), with a rock 'n roll ending; a very original closer, but musically it's just an average rock n' roll/blues song. This album may not be their quintessential, but certainly shows how versatile they can be, and even in this album Gentle Giant makes Yes sound like Led Zeppelin, even though Yes is very academic already; you couldn't imagine how complex their music would be on later albums.

Chus | 3/5 |


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