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Gentle Giant - In A Glass House CD (album) cover

IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 1073 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of my all-time Gentle Giant favorite releases, and just as their sophomore gem "Acquiring the Taste", "In a Glass House" is also an acquired taste, since the band chooses to create repertoire in which they can dig particular dpeths into their own complex, uncopromisng musical vision. There is also some sort of dark emotional vibe that perfectly fits both the black color's predominance and mysterious double-image cover design. The infamous broken glass effects that set the pace for the main motif and the most recurrent tempo are, in some ways, a metaphor of what the band had been going through between the completion of their "Octopus" album and the conception of this one. One of the Shulman brothers left the band, Phillip, the one who was more straightfordwardly interested in eerie harmonizations and sonic textures. Something had been broken on the road, yet the band remained undefatigueable, and that's where the solid style of drummer John Weathers feels more at home among the band's overall instrumentation. In fact, Gentle Giant starts to increase their rocking potential (to be soon enhanced in their follower "The Power & the Glory") while remaining loyal to the heritages of Medieval, Rennaisance, 20th century chamber, Celtic and jazzy things that they so amazingly combined into their signature sound. The opener 'The Runaway' bears a very appealing hook despite the complex melodic lines and weird adornments on recorders and vibes. Definitely, the inputs of Ray's bass, Minnear's keyboards (and else) and Green's guitars are being provided a major dynamics by Weathers' drumming. Next comes the segued second track 'An Inmate's Lullaby', a surreal slow piece in which the Spartan vocal leads and harmonies seem to float above the vibes, glockenspiel and tympani. This song is a perfect example of GG's clever use of apparently few tricks in order to transform them into an intrincate piece. 'Way of Life' is the most patently exciting song in the album, with again a catchy motif on guitar and organ that takes in as soon as the word 'Go!' is shouted. The use of counterpoints and countermelodies gives way to the dreamy, exquisite interlude, based on a harmonium motif and enriched by violin and recorder. The interlude is reprised for the song's last section in a majestic manner. The long minimal harmonium layers that prolong the ending were conceived as the intro theme to another track that eventually wasn't completed. That makes 'Experience' the next track, and what a lovely track it is! Dominated by Minnear on the vocal department, it bears a floating Renaissance ambience that is only interrupted by a rock-blues section in which Derek Shulman delivers on of his most explosive performances. The encore is simply delightful. After 'A reunion', a very soft ballad based on violin flourishes with Minnear in exclusive charge of vocal duties, comes the closing title track. This one begins with a section in which Celtic flavours (with the violin assuming the lead role) and playful rock alternate each other. The second section focuses on the rock thing but with a slower tempo: the appearance of dual acoustic guitars in the bridges gives some room for brief country- inspired stuff. The live rendition that appears as part of the CD reissue bonuses reveals an increased use of sonic power for thsi one, but the studio version remains captivating in its own constraint manner. The album ends with a minimum capitulation of the album's repertoire, and so it happens that we have yet another GG masterpiece in the annals of vintage prog rock.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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