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IN A GLASS HOUSE

Gentle Giant

Eclectic Prog


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Gentle Giant In A Glass House album cover
4.35 | 1119 ratings | 93 reviews | 54% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Runaway (7:15)
2. An Inmate's Lullaby (4:40)
3. Way of Life (7:52)
4. Experience (7:50)
5. A Reunion (2:11)
6. In a Glass House (8:26)

Bonus tracks on Remastered Edition:
7. The Runaway/Experience (live in Dusseldorf 9/23/76) (10:01)
8. In a Glass House (live in Munster 4/5/74) (9:49)

Total Time: 58:04

Bonus track on 35th Anniversary Edition:
7. Experience (live in Dusseldorf 9/23/76) (9:43)


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Green / 6 & 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion, alto recorder
- Kerry Minnear / keyboards, tuned percussion, recorder, vocals
- Derek Shulman / vocals, alto sax, soprano sax, recorder
- Ray Shulman / bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals
- John Weathers / drums, percussion

Releases information

2LP Alucard, UK (1973)
CD Alucard, alu-gg-02 (Remasted Edition) (2000)
CD DRT Entertainment, NY 10010 (35th Anniversary Edition) (2005)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$13.77
$13.33 (used)
Live at the BicentennialLive at the Bicentennial
Alucard Records 2014
Audio CD$15.98
Playing the Fool: The Official LivePlaying the Fool: The Official Live
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$7.10
$8.00 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.32
$3.82 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.66
$4.45 (used)
Acquiring the TasteAcquiring the Taste
Fontana Island 1990
Audio CD$3.76
$2.76 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$12.36
$10.98 (used)
Gentle Giant/Acquiring the TasteGentle Giant/Acquiring the Taste
Import
BGO Records 2012
Audio CD$10.50
$13.98 (used)
Three Friends/OctopusThree Friends/Octopus
1-2-3-4-GO! 2013
Audio CD$12.07
$20.44 (used)
I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980
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EMI Import 2012
Audio CD$14.11
$18.54 (used)
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GENTLE GIANT In A Glass House ratings distribution


4.35
(1119 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(54%)
54%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

GENTLE GIANT In A Glass House reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album marks the most dramatic transition point in Gentle Giant's career. Elder brother Phil Shulman splits from the fold, taking his voice and saxophone with him, and from this point on the band's sound is remarkably different from that of all their previous releases. What is this difference? Well, for one thing, you'll hardly hear any more sax-driven numbers, and also gone is the playful, kitchen-sink attitude we hear on an album like "Octopus". Instead we find an extremely serious and ambitious group of musicians seemingly bent on pushing their music's complexity and intensity to its absolute limits, and as the first release in this new mode of operation, In A Glass House is often regarded as the band's ultimate masterpiece, their crowning achievement -- and one of the all-time greatest prog-rock records ever conceived. Without a doubt, this is Gentle Giant's most consistently intense (and "serious") album -- I remember being almost creeped out by it the first time I heard it, and a little unsure of what had just happened to me. With repeated listens, however, their genius begins to reveal itself; and soon I found myself revelling in every twist and turn, awestruck by their peerless intelligence and imagination, wishing they had recorded hundreds of albums. Within are most of the band's longest running tracks (around the 8 minute mark) with "Experience" being a particular favorite of mine, featuring subliminal keyboard work and haunting vocals throughout as well as a mind-bending instrumental pileup at the end that I could go on listening to forever. While it's nearly impossible to say which Gentle Giant album is the definitive best (too many flawless albums), this one will always get primary consideration.

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Send comments to corbet (BETA) | Report this review (#6098) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'm really speechless. Sometimes, I feel ambarassed by my lack of mind-opening. Once again, after 3 (the magic number) good listen at the album, I do not regret to have purchased this BRILLANT record. Gentle Giant is a very respectable, yet 'easy listening' prog band. But this time, it's getting crazier.

In a Glass House deserves a place in your shelf as Moving Pictures (Rush) or Close to the Edge (Yes) . Am I crazy you say? THIS IS the classic album of GG with Acquiring the Taste. And Gentle Giant is a band that brought A LOT of innovation and expertise in progressive rock. But the record is not 'Holy Grail' impossible to find now for a mere 30$, you get bonus live tracks. There's a song (An Intimates Lullaby) about a crazy guy in an asylum who soliloquys in his room, almost a nursery rhyme. The voice feels like it's recorded from a phone.

Way of life, Experience and A Reunion offers lots a 'medieval' approaches that made GG such a joy to experience. This is the kind of record that makes me realize more and more that I was born in the wrong era. God, going to college with GG being an underground extravanganza and even going tho their concerts would have been a real treat. Anyway, if you can find the record, jump on it, it's an order. This is like the summer in Quebec, catch it while you can, because if you blink it's gone for another year of waiting.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#6093) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
5 stars If GG had done a tour without brother Phil, buying a Moog to fill-in his parts, it was another thing to do an album without him, but again, this proved to be a non-issue with Derek playing sax and singing as had Phil. In fact this proved to be their better album (IMHO but also for many other) although this album never got a US release - something rather odd since Octopus had encouraging sales there.

This is one of the many kind of strange decisions that probably stopped GG to become a household name among rock fans. Actually, they had different labels handling the album on each side of the pond, and by now, their contract with Vertigo had run out and they had signed to Iommi's WWA label, prompting their US Columbia label to pass up on this one. By the time this album did get a US release in 78, this album had become their best-seller over there as an import. Are you sure you are following this?

Anyway, GG purist will scream scandal at this album and its so-called blatant attempt at commercialism, but if the album is more accessible (a bit easier on minds like the debut or Three Fiends) this is hardly a sell-out, being their longest record and four tracks above 7 minutes and three of those around the 8 min mark.

From the breaking of glass becoming the rhythm of the opener to the all-percussive astounding Inmate Lullaby , to the very classic GG Way Of Life , this album is strictly in line with all other albums , the main difference is the gradual decrease of acoustic instruments (a consequence of Phil's departure) , here being kept in a role of anti-climatic response to the more energetic moments of the songs. The second side is not be shamed either with the aptly-titled Experience with its constant twists and changes to the driving title track with its never-ending tempo changes with superb harmonies but the tedious but short Reunion does bring the only damper on an otherwise almost flawless album. Why Mr; Stump and Mr; Joynson do not appreciate this album to the fullest is beyond me.

Nevertheless, this album will set the template for the following albums with lesser acoustic instruments and more mechanical tempo changes (both flaws increasing with time) , but also increasing commercial success to the bring of stardom. Certainly my favourite album , this album now fetches small fortunes for a mint copy with its transparent gimmicky window-shadow trick.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6097) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The same year that GENTLE GIANT released "Octopus" they released in the UK only "In A Glass House" which unfortunately never saw the light of day in the US or Canada. In sharp contrast to "Octopus", this album takes on a much more accessible sound with a sharper focus on the melodic horizon. Of course all of the patented GENTLE GIANT'isms are present throughout culminating into perhaps my personal favourite GIANT song of all time "In A Glass House". "In A Glass House" is a real prog lovers album with some highly complex interludes and well thought out tempo shifts and melodic runs. I guess if SPOCK'S BEARD borrowed from any of GENTLE GIANT albums this would be it. An essential album most definitely with some totally musically all-inspiring moments.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#6092) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004

Review by Prognut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Can you define Masterpiece? I personally think that in the prog world there are several definitions, depending who you are or what is your experience and background on progressive music as a whole; however, to me is either an album so creative and inovative that can not be compared with anything done before and is at the same time unique, or is an album that has reach the creative peak of one particular band... simple!!!, isn't, but really other than this? How can you define masterpiece... I am actually open to any suggestions.This is GG huge MASTERPIECE, and fulfill both of my suggested definitions... before this album, they struggled to get there, and after it they wish to come back. So much effort, dedication, perfection... few bands have reached this level, the sad thing you see, is that is short duration, showed over and over with every other band. And, come on, they knew that.. living in a "Glass House". I have found in GG, like no other band, that they may have individual Masterpieces compositions, thru out their life span... but, as an album, this hold together better than anything else done by them. This album can not be apreciated based on, this guitar sound like this, then the violin, and also the Keys and by the way the drummer, well... It will be nonsense for me getting on these type of details... for the newcomer however, try maybe "Free Hand" or "The Power and the Glory" first; since they maybe a little more accesible. But, if you still want to take the chance with "In a Glass House" let it spin several times, until you chew, chew, digest and then grow on you.... give it time and will happen, trust me... 6 Stars, ups! I mean 5.

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Send comments to Prognut (BETA) | Report this review (#6101) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 03, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars By forgetting such an heavy lack- like that one of Phil Shulman- and regarding also of a melodic jazz approach, this album remains as one of their best and most original ones!!

So without any doubt you can add another "half star" at least and-moreover-you can start appreciating a more accessible band...the breaking of a glass, becoming a rhytmical pattern in the intro of "The Runaway", is a G.G.'s trademark: the explosion of a funny glass, introduces a remarkable song, where Derek Shulman is treating us to his own style of singing!!That is a great loudness and softness in his approach, even though by alternating cleverly these music features by means also of the melodic breaks through, which make this album so creative and simple in the same time !!Afterwards, through several time changes, a "recorder" emerges from the odd guitar tune...here it is another G.G.'s trademark!!

Instead "An Inmates Lullaby" is a bit weak in my opinion, apart from a lullaby sound, which is weird but it's not enough to let us consider this song recommended (the vocalism is not so remarkable)...never mind, cause the following one- "Way of life" - is an exceptional offtune track, which is enriched by means of such a great jam by Ray Shulman on the bass line, an organ "background" and the soft vocalism by Kenny Minnear as well, who has got his own difficult task to let us forget the lack of a genius like Phil Shulman. The track "Experience" is a complex song, where the approach by Derek Shulman is as usual essential for whom is already completely into their strange old stuff, despite of a certain mellowness at the beginning, which leads us to the effort by Kenny Minnear at the vocals: well I prefer him as a keyboardist rather than as a vocalist, but never mind once again, in fact at last a string quartet introduces the pretty "Reunion", preceding the unforgettable title track with its remarkable acoustic guitars, harpsichords, Lead violins,heavy basses and electric guitars,all at one time, which make this album essential and almost perfect for their personal style (a fast tempo with complex parts, which is one of the typical music features by G.G.!!).

Let's listen to the remastered version of this important work (above all to their new change of direction in their music) !!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#6112) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I recall back in 2003 when my music teacher introduced me to this band for the first time, and this was my first taste of them. The wonderful guitar riff after the quirky glass breaking intro to "The Runaway" instantly stroke me as some of the best music I've heard so far, and to this date it still is my personal favorite GG song. This one was a change from their 'Octopus' opus in 1972 and introduced the band to a darker, more rock solid sound while not missing the adventurous stylistics from before. The strictly tuned percussion composed "An Inmates Lullaby" is a prime example on this, echoing the 'Acquiring the Taste' days very much and standing as one of the most original songs ever written. The rest of the album follows the same formula as the opening track with dynamic elements of both medevial and heavy progressive rock (save the beautiful folk tingled interlude "A Reunion"), each with a different personality and mood certainly paving the way for albums such as 'Free Hand' later on.

Gentle Giant kept experimenting with each release and this is definitely one of their better offerings. 4.5/5

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#6128) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2004

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Most prog fans/GG fans consider this their magnum opus. Funny how an album that was impossible to find back in the day would be considered such. Not to rub all the fans the wrong way, I consider it to be a tad cold in spots. It opens with the sound of breaking glass seguing into the beginning of 'The Runaway'. I don't know how everyone else feels, but the recording, (I have the 1st re-mastered CD) seems to have been done in a cave. There's a hollowness to the sound. Good, bad? A 70's thing? I don't know, but that coldness factors in. Up next is 'An Inmates Lullaby', drums, xylophone? and voice. One odd little song...not their best if you ask me. 'Way Of Life' comes next and again I have problems with the recording. Is it me or does Derek's voice sound disconnected from the rest of the band? And there's that hollowness again rearing it's ugly head. Man, a most frustrating album! "Experience' and ' A Reunion' are fine songs, but the last track, 'In A Glass House' is the gem of all gems. It is THEE Gentle Giant song to beat all Gentle Giant songs. It has everything you love about the band, the medieval, the R&B, and the rock all rolled up into one fantastic song. Unbelieveable! The one thing I love about them is how the time signatures are so normal sounding yet inaccessible. On a side note, I enjoy the many live recordings of the songs off of this album moreso then the album itself. How does everyone else feel? So, in a nutshell, the album is a disjointed, rough-edged, frustrating, crazy quilt, listen-many-times-to-understand classic. But be warned, for those who want to get into the band, do not and I repeat, do not pick this as your first venture into the world of GG. Try "Octopus" or "Freehand". 4.5 frustrating stars!

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Posted Thursday, May 05, 2005

Review by FishyMonkey
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Technically I should be giving this album five stars -- I can't really pinpoint anything as "bad". However, I don't feel like this is a five star album, more of a 4.5 album. This album, made by the highly experimental and crazy Gentle Giant, is one of my favorites that I've heard of theirs. It's got good songwriting, great...and I mean GREAT melodies, and uses some isntruments and sounds you odn't hear too often. So, I probably should be head-over-heels in love with this album.

But I'm not, not enough to give it five stars. Sure, everything seems right, but it's prog. Huh, you say? I mean just that...it's simply prog, nothing more and nothing less. It doesn't do anything daring, doesn't try anything too new, no real soul in it, no passion of any sort, no experimental stuff, no crazy singing...gawd, nothing. It's just prog. There's nothing wrong with just prog -- especially when it's done this well. A wide array of sounds of instruments and tight composing, it's good stuff that keeps me coming back to this album. BUT, there's nothing that screams, "This band put everything they had in them into this album", or "This is something different". It doesn't quite sound generic, in fact it doesn't sound generic at all. Once again, it's just prog. Good prog at that, but there is abslutely nothing that distinguishes it from the huge amounts of other symphonic prog bands out there.

The title track is a wonderful song with pretty nice violin and all around nice voice work and once again great melodies. It sorta gets a little boring, but it's good, I do like this track a lot. I feel the same way about Experience, which gets a little rougher in the middle in its' sound, but is still great. Way of Life starts with an awesome bass part and someone shouting GO! The vocals seem kinda dissonant when they coem in, but it works. This song also reverts into the same mode as Experience and the title track -- greatsong ,some amazing moments, but nothing you look at and realize that this band is something special. They're very good, but nothign different. An Inmates Lullaby and A Reunion are pretty worthless, but oh well. The Runaway is the same as the other three great tracks on this album, very good but nothing new.

See, I really like Gentle Giant and plan on buying much of their discography, but they will never be one of my favorites, just as this album will never be one of my favorites. It's good prog, but that's ALL it is: good prog. Nothing else. This isn't bad, but it certainly doesn't make me ecstatic and doesn't make me flip out and give it five stars.

Disclaimer: I really do like this album, honest -- but it's just that missing extra element that keeps me from giving it five stars or proclaiming Gentle Giant as great.

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Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Finally, the long awaited 35th Anniversary Edition has recently been released with a new deluxe and elegant package and bonus live track. The package is covered with an external cardboard with Gentle Giant's mascot : an old man face with bold head. When I received the CD from amazon couple of weeks ago, I was impressed with the package. The original artwork is still maintained inside the package, cover of the sleeve notes. The cover is made of plastic with a printed original artwork but it now looks like a negative film with picture in it (the artwork). It's really nice. All lyrics of the tracks are printed nicely inside the sleeve. The disc itself is printed in black. Judging from the package itself I can see that with the CD price of USD 13.99 it's worth owning this package.

Let's talk about the record. From the sonic quality I can only say that this is excellent and better than the original CD version. All detail sounds, like the opening broken glass sounds that have characterized the music of Gentle Giant, can be heard excellently. The combination of Derek's powerful voice and other instrument sounds can be heard very clear, transparent. Yes there is hiss especially during quiet passages but what can I do? It was originally recorded in the seventies - it's probably the master has it already.

The music? Well, no one would argue about the brilliance of this critically acclaimed album. Through this album the band had pushed their music much more on avant-garde style while maintaining the key ingredients of Gentle Giant's musical characteristics: excellent harmony of vocal / choirs and complex arrangements all songs featured in this album. "The Runaway" (7:15) which opens with broken glass sounds offers rich varieties of styles and textures combined with a complex rhythm section with intertwining guitar and keyboard works. It has become the band's legendary track. The less popular "An Inmate's Lullaby" (4:40) is the kind of avant-garde style played by the band combining vibraphone and vocal. "Way of Life" (7:52) is a song with hard driving rhythm, fast tempo and frequent tempo changes with guitar work during transition pieces.

"Experience" (7:50) is another excellent track with inventive keyboard combined with a complex arrangement of acoustic guitar played in speed. It's quite complex track but it's enjoyable - especially with this digitally remastered package where all details can be heard excellently. The structure of this track is also complex where it comprises many forms of music. I like especially when the music reaches in the middle of track where Derek sings in nigh register notes "Master inner voices, making any choices" followed with guitar solo and keyboard as rhythm. "A Reunion " (2:11) has a great combination of acoustic guitar, violin and low register notes yet powerful vocal of Derek. "In a Glass House" (8:26) is another great composition featuring excellent harmony between all instruments used especially acoustic guitar, violin, clavinet and electric guitar. The choirs performed by Derek, Ray, Gary and Kerry are also top notch! But the strong point of this concluding track is its net composition and precise delivery by the band members. The bonus track is actually a combination of "The Runaway" and "Experience". It's performed excellently with a live ambient from the crowd in Dusseldorm who seemed very enthusiastic with the show. Sonic quality of the live bonus is excellent.

This remastered edition is highly recommended. Keep on proggin' .!!!

Progressively yours, GW

"Now I am a man, I realise. My unworldly sins pained many lives. Yet I heard, heard with ears that wouldn't listen. And still I watched and I saw with blinkered eyes." - WAY OF LIFE.

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Posted Saturday, July 02, 2005

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Overall, this album is a very solid effort from Gentle Giant. The intensity and the feeling angst that this album gives off is mainly because of the recurring theme of breaking free from capture (which would somewhat come back in Free Hand) is an overwhelming factor that could make or break the album for someone. In my opinion, this is the heaviest album they had created up to that point, long gone were the silly styles of Octopus, and now they were delving into more serious themes, while still keeping some of that silly quality. Keyboard wizard Kerry Minear holds the album together with his catchy, and ever so intricate keyboard lines that utilize so many different instruments, one would think that there was more than one keyboardist in the band. Gary Green also working heavily along side Minear, creating rich tones and sounds that go side by side with the keyboard madness. Ray Shulman keeps a subdued role in this album, not reaching his creative peak yet. But still, at that time, he was a superb bassist that played lines that were outside the proverbial box. John Weathers also gives some great performances on this album, but in my opinion had already past his peak in Octopus. And finally, Derek Shulman showing everyone who's boss with commanding vocal work and superb recorder work. In a word, musically and lyrically this album is among their best work.

Stand out tracks on this album are the opener, The Runaway, which begins with the sound of glass breaking, then becomes one of the most creative Gentle Giant riffs ever conceived. It is filled with lyrical hooks and has some great bass and guitar work. A Reunion is the softest track on the album, and is along the same lines as Knots from Octopus and later On Reflection, in the multi-layered vocal aspect. And the finale, In a Glass House features a superb solo from Green, and some intricate work from Minear, and one of Ray Shulman's best bass lines.

Overall, this album is very solid musically and lyrically. My only problem with it is that the songs tend to drag a bit, there should have been more musical ideas added, rather than the repeating of riffs. One of Gentle Giant's best, there is something on this album for everybody. 4/5.

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Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Impressive! I don't know if this one is the best of Gentle Giant's catalogue. It's a pleasure for ears and minds, better than Octopus which is also a five rating must! Perhaps almost all the albums of GG merit 4.5 star rating (or more)!!

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Posted Friday, July 29, 2005

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "In A Glass House" is arguably GG's best and most ambitious record and the outstanding gem from their in prog circles highly astonished early period. It's their highest masterpiece of all. Period: From the intro of "The Runaway" 'til the outro of the title track with the glass- breaking effects in both, the album is deep, perfectly structured and with so many changes and complex parts (which always are understandable and memorable), that this album never tunes boring. It's without doubt a definitive landmark record in classic prog, from the year 1973, where progressive rock reached it's highest creative point. "In A Glass House" is GG's "Close To The Edge", "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Selling England By The Pound" or "Thick As A Brick" if you will, but you can't compare it with one of these records, it stands on it's own as a prog masterpiece, like all of those mentioned from above.

Since some recent reviews, I specially reviewed the single tracks from one record and gave them points from 0-10. This time I make it short and give them only points, because here is so much to discover, which isn't discribable with some words. You must hear it yourself!

Extremely high recommended to all prog and Gentle Giant fans (those own it already though)!

Track ratings:

"The Runaway": 10/10 points "An Inmates Lullaby": 9/10 points "Way Of Life": 10/10 points "Experience": 10/10 points "A Reunion": 8.5/10 points "In A Glass House": 10/10 points

Record rating: 10 + 9 + 10 + 10 + 8.5 + 10 = 57.5 / 6 tracks = 9.58 = 9.5 points Gentle Giant - "In A Glass House": 9.5/10 points = 96 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music.

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Posted Friday, September 16, 2005

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First thing to say is that I've only had this album for about six months so its probably too early for me to be posting a review about it but I can't be bothered to wait any longer!

My first observation is that even on the remaster it all sounds a bit 'tinny' to my ears.Is this really taken from a first generation master tape? I doubt it especially as there is some obvious hiss on some tracks.

My second observtion is that none of the songs are as strong as those on other albums.Too much of this is complex for the sake of compelexity and the song gets lost along the way.

Thirdly the drums seem very weak and ordinary by great prog standards.

The main plus point seem to be that Kerry Minnear is on red hot form.Great keyboard player and multi instrumenatlist for sure.

The live bonus track seems to sucessfully summarise the album and make all that goes before redundant.

Ok its just an opinion but Power and The Glory is GG's great masterpece for me not this slightly over self conscious 'trying to be too complex for the sake of it' album.

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Posted Thursday, September 29, 2005

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
4 stars I would describe this album as an enigma. Many people hail it has Giant's masterpiece. While it is a very strong album, i don't think it desevers that title. It is remarkable that they were able to continue so powerfully after Phil left the band. All the musicians are in top form, the songs are all well written, and the album is very coherent. Why then do i say that it should not be called a masterpiece? For some reason this one doesnt jump out and slap you in the face like The Power and The Glory, Octopus, and Free Hand (the Giant's masterpieces in my mind) did. I have listen to this album many times and everytime i enjoy it alot and love what I hear, but it just donest go.

With that said, this is a grand album! All the songs are great, and the musicians are phenominal. The album starts off running (excuse the pun) with The Runaway, one of Giant's best songs. Awesome guitar riff, great drumming, and fantastic singing. Flawless! Then comes An Inmates Lullaby. This is an interesting song told from the point of someone is obviously in need of help. Clever lyrics, and great percussion parts are featured here. A very good song. Next up is the ever exciting Way Of Life. A great song with alot of energy (especially in the begining) and wonderful music. The only thing about this song that may deter people is the ending. For one, i like it. It's progressive for one. All in all this is a standout track. Experience is a song that, to me, is just like this album: I like it, but i don't like it as much as everyone says i should. It is a good song with solid music and lyrics. Next is the soft spoken A Reunion, the only song less than four minutes. Again, a solid song with great strings and a wonderful vocal performance by Kerry. I think for this song to reach its full potential it should have been expanded more than it was. But that takes nothing away from it. Another good song. Finally comes the tour de force of In A Glass House. This is in my top five of Giant's songs. What power and sophistication is there in this song, full of life and engery that bubbles to the top and encapsulates the listener. Powerful and fantastic drumming, bass, and guitar playing combined with great lyrics make this song one not to miss. Another flawless song!

This is a very good release that should not be missed by anyone. Standout tracks are: The Runaway, In A Glass House, and Way Of Life. But even better, there are no bad songs on this album. Even though i can't call it a masterpiece this is an album that everyone needs to try. You won't be disappointed. Very highly Recommended.

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Posted Sunday, November 06, 2005

Review by 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.

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Posted Saturday, November 04, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The most challenging classic GG release.

This is a remarkable change from the jubilant Octopus. With the departure of Phil, the band took a more serious direction, creating a concept album which continues to highlight the band's creativity and talent, but also approaches a level of depth, a dramatic element to their sound which they had not explored yet.

One of the biggest changes here, besides the departure of the sax, are the lyrics, which are easily some of the most poetic lines GG wrote, especially on tracks like Experience. This is a record about growing up, and about change. Often times a band's deepest works comes when turmoil and tension are at its peak, and here GG had to take a good look at themselves and the direction they wanted to take their band.

My biggest complaint would be that this record sounds particularly dated (as in not timeless), especially the opener The Runaway. I still believe their best work was Octopus, in which the songs seem to flow like a river, and they were crafting 4 and 5 minute "epics" that reached more emotions that many songs of longer length reach. This is perhaps the deepest and most difficult of the GG records to get into, but it's a very fun ride.

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Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars There may have been more talented individual figures in progressive rock, more fireworks, personal virtuosity and mass appeal, but there was no more inspired or skilled a unit than these comparatively unsung heroes. An outfit so well-versed in myriad musics and so able to pull the very best from each member, that there are moments on this 1973 release that dwarf contemporaries and make Yes and Tull look like schoolchildren. Consequently, there is not a slow or insignificant moment on 'In a Glass House' and it remains the enormous masterwork it was then.

'The Runaway' is prime, definitive Gentle Giant with the brilliant counterpoint and meticulous structure they were the best at. 'An Inmates Lullaby', though bizarre, mirrors Roger Water's preoccupation with insanity that same year and tinkers along with music box chimes and some children's piano silliness. Back to the real show is 'Way of Life' which moves with smooth velocity, beautifully remastered here with all players sounding marvelous. Gary Green's weird guitar notations, John Weathers' painfully tight drums and Kerry Minnear's angles of synth and organ. Woven in and out of a cooking rock foundation are Elizabethan breaks that establish a solid thematic and rich, acoustic/electric tonal palette . This band is a glory to behold and we're left wondering why other prog acts so consistently took the spotlight of history. No matter really, Gentle Giant made great records for us to enjoy forever. 'Experience' is intriguing with its medieval psych, Derek Schulman's minstrel-on-acid vocals, deep church organ drones, Ray Schulman's childlike bass phrase and a crunchy middle section. 'A Reunion' features Ray's violin and brother co-founder Derek's sax, becoming a splendid rock-fusion number that Steve Morse had to have heard as a young composer. The title cut follows and rocks things to a close.

If it is possible for one band to have been the quintessential prog rockers with no more than a quick glance from the world, it was Gentle Giant. It doesn't get any better.

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Posted Friday, July 06, 2007

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars In A Glass House is Gentle Giant at their best. On their earlier albums, even on the celebrated Octopus, I felt like there was still an awkwardness present in their music, perhaps due to their extremely complex arrangements. However, on this outing their sound is stripped down to the bare essentials, and I think it's better for it.

I don't mean to imply that this album is simpler or more accessible than their others, to the contrary, this is very challenging music and it took me a great number of listens to feel like I really understood it. There is a nice mix of styles present over the course of the record. An Inmate's Lullaby is a sparse, percussion driven song about a man in mental institution. The creepy/sad lyrics are really great and really make the song. Experience is a rock and roll jam, which lends some more traditional aggression to this otherwise very avant-garde record. A reunion is a medieval sounding snippet, which is very peaceful and gives the listener a chance to rest for a second.

The title track is definitely the highlight, with some of GG's best melodies and ends with a recap collage of all the other songs (Queen would use this exact same trick five years later with More of That Jazz.)

If you're a fan of the more avant-garde side of prog. you will undoubtedly enjoy In a Glass House. To this day, no other band has managed to sound anything like Gentle Giant, which in itself is unique. 4 stars.

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Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well I do like this better than "Octopus" but it doesn't measure up to the enjoyment I get out of "Three Friends" and "Acquiring The Taste". It just seems like something is missing from their early days, maybe it's just that the music has become more challenging and complex. Having said all that I really like "The Runaway" , "Experience" and "In A Glass House" a lot. It's all good though.

"The Runaway" opens with the sound of someone breaking something and this continues until it is in a rhythm.The sound builds as vocals from Shulman arrive a minute in.There is some recorder, guitar and vibes to follow, actually there is a vibes solo 5 minutes in. "The Inmate's Lullaby" doesn't have a lot of melody as percussion and vocals lead the way.There are some vibes and the lyrics are quite interesting in this intricate and complex song. "Way Of Life" is an uptempo tune that has a mellow section 2 1/2 minutes in of organ, violin and Minnear's gentle vocals.Then were back to the races.The drumming is quite prominant on this track and the song ends with prolonged organ sounds.

"Experience" features fast paced vocals from Minnear with lots of keys.Some good bass 2 minutes in and a chorus that follows. Some angular guitar melodies late. Nice. "A Reunion" is ok,but it does seem very English to me, maybe it's Minnear's vocal style on this one. Acoustic guitar, bass and violin lead the way. "In A Glass House" is my favourite track on this album. It's an uptempo tune with violin and acoustic guitar. The tempo changes often and Shulman does the vocals. Nice to hear some sax as well. With Phil Shulman leaving before this recording there is far less sax melodies then we're used to with this band.

This is classic GENTLE GIANT so what's not to like ?

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Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If this is Gentle Giant's most serious album, then the band is probably just not serious enough for my tastes. There is plenty of good music on this album, but there is more than enough goofiness that really doesn't do much for me either, such as the sound effects to open and close the album and all of An Inmate's Lullaby. I realize that's all part of the Giant's uniqueness and creativity; however, this seems to be one of the kinds of prog that I have trouble really getting into.

The lone exception is the title track. With a killer opening 12-string (at least I think) riff, coupled with a captivating violin countermelody, this track wastes no time in getting started. Then the vocals come in with classic Giant irregularity, and the guys keep hitting you with great melody after great melody, until about halfway through we get an unexpectedly heavy guitar riff that takes the song to conclusion nicely. It's really an amazingly frenetic eight minutes of prog.

The Runaway, Way of Life, Experience. These songs all have plenty of good moments, but lack the energy and consistency of the title track. The Runaway is a rocker--at least by Gentle Giant standards--and is centered around the guitar lines, but also features tons of interesting synth and xylophone fills. Way of Life and Experience I have mixed feelings about--they feature so many contrasts (between light and heavy particularly), that I usually enjoy sections of each when I put them on, but rarely enjoy the entire song throughout. Despite that, they certainly bear the Giant's unique touch, including playful interplay and slightly off-key vocals.

Gentle Giant are one of those bands that are good enough to intrigue me, but in my opinion not worth the money it costs to obtain their music. Except for the title track, this album is somewhat inconsistent, but solid enough for a moderately enthusiastic recommendation.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#157315) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I do love this album, however it is not their best, by a long shot. I prefer Free Hand and Octopus, they have no weaknesses, however this has one, and it takes up the place of an entire song: that weakness is An Inmate's Lullaby. It is GG's strangest song, but by far the worst of their classic era, it almost tops So Sincere on the crap-o-meter. Anyway, now with the negatives out of the way, we can get down to the good stuff!

The album starts astoundingly with ear-splitting simulated glass-breaking sounds, and then into the fantastic song Runaway. This is one of my very favourite GG songs, for many reasons: the two things I love the most though arise from Minnear's brilliance on the keyboards and the marimba. First of all, the run down on the lower organ in the main theme, such simplicity and so short, but unbelievably effective, secondly, the very jazz-based marimba solo in the middle. An excellent start.

I've already said my piece on An Inmate's Lullaby.

Way of Life is the most rock n roll on the album, with a fast-paced and dare I say it, cheesy riff and progressing into some really nice changes: of these include some virtuose guitar playing from Gary Green, tight drumming from Weathers and an amazing middle section that is in the symphonic vein, with some very pleasant melody and powerful organ from Minnear. Overall I could prog-rocker, generic GG complexity and some real bite.

Experience is once again a true classic, it has two of the greatest prog riffs of all time, this really proves GG as riff writers as well as straightforward composers. Gary Green really shines on this track with a classic guitar solo to penultimate the track. I really love the simplistic bass work overlapping the main riff, 3 minutes in. The Baroque sections also have a glowing charm to them, although they can get a little boring at times. Still a commendable track, and another one of my favourites: the riffs are to die for!

A Reunion is a bit like a chamber music filler that gives you a little break between two big songs. Once again, Kerry Minnear's orchestrational skills show through here, and give you even more reason to love the guy.

In A Glass House is by far THE BEST GENTLE GIANT SONG EVER COMPOSED. There is no weak point to this song; it is just the perfect prog rocker. Shame on anyone who tries to slate it! The song is divided into two halves, the first part complex in arrangement and harmony, with clever use of violins and a 12-string, the second part consisting another great riff, and very addictive, beware! The first half is very complex, no theme is repeated more than twice, and even when it is it's tweaked slightly. This is the opposite of boring, all of the musicians are at their prime (apart from Weathers, who reaches his prime on Knots IMO) here, and it is bliss to listen to. The second half is the best bit though. Words cannot describe the genial ability of these guys: the riff is in 29/8 and you can still groove to it! Enough said, I really don't want to spoil it for you.

Overall, a very strong album with one massive hole in the middle, but that is overshrouded by the other songs. I will have to give this a 5star rating, as it would be an insult to give it any less. Buy Free Hand or Octopus before this though, easily accessible and they are generally better IMHO.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#166238) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In a Glass House is the fifth album from Gentle Giant. This was their break through in the United States where the album sold pretty well. Itīs hard to hear why this should be the break through though as it is just as complex and challenging as the previous albums. Maybe even a bit more. For me personally this is another masterpiece album from Gentle Giant.

The music is still unmistakably Gentle Giant with the many different influences ranging from hard rock, classical chamber music, jazz, medievil troubadour music, avant garde and this time around funk. I am tempted to say that as usual Gentle Giant pull this of with ease. All sorts of different themes are thrown around and changed and used again. This is a typical feature in Gentle Giantīs music and the one I enjoy the most. I think Gentle Giantīs way of making music is close to classical music compositions with the layers of different musical themes. In a Glass House consist of six songs. Four pretty long ones The Runaway, Way of Life, Experience and In a Glass House and two shorter songs An Inmate's Lullaby and A Reunion.

A Reunion is the only song here which isnīt higly complex. instead itīs a pleasant song in the midst of complex song structures and playing. The other five songs are well structured and highly complex tracks which were up until then the best material written by Gentle Giant IMO. An Inmateīs Lullaby stand out a bit as it is very avant garde, but still beautiful and Way of Life has a funky beat while the remaining three songs are just plain beautiful and challenging. I canīt begin to describe how much I enjoy this album, but you get the picture right ?

The musicianship is astonishing as usual, and as on other Gentle Giant albums both violin and sax is also used here in addition to the more normal rock instrumentation. The xylophone is used more extensively here though than on any previous albums.

The production turned me of the first time I listened to it, because itīs much thinner and not very bass heavy than on their previous album Octopus, but itīs like Iīve grown used to this sound and it gives In a Glass House itīs identity in the Gentle Giant discography.

This is another 5 star album from Gentle Giant, and so far they have not disappointed me. As a newbie to Gentle Giant I have taken their albums from an end and started with the first one and including this album I have only given 5 star ratings as I feel Gentle Giant might be the best prog rock band ever. Every album sounds unmistabably like Gentle Giant while they still develop their style from album to album. Once more I can only regret that I havenīt discovered Gentle Giant earlier. This is highly recommendable to people who like their prog rock to be challenging yet melodic and memorable. MASTERPIECE.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#169937) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 05, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Though often considered Gentle Giant's best release, I find In a Glass House to be a flawed and less lovable album than Free Hand and Octopus.

Now don't get me wrong. Gentle Giant has one of the strongest discographies of any prog band I've ever run across (at least until 1977 or so). Saying that this album is more flawed and less lovable than the two aforementioned is like saying that George Harrison is a slightly less famous Beatles member. In the end, it doesn't matter, because if you enjoy about any Gentle Giant album, you need to come to this one, too. The highly experimental nature of the previous albums is starting to segue to a much tighter and more band-oriented feel on this album. In truth, a hard rock sound is starting to creep into this album, giving it both wild complexity and irresistible energy. For the most part. Most hopeless prog nerds (like myself) would look at this album first of their discography, most likely, due to the longer tracks. However, sometimes their longer compositions lose the power and effectiveness that their less meandering songs before and after this album have.

The album opens with The Runaway, a pretty good track by Gentle Giant standards, though nothing particularly inspiring or different. The xylophones on this track are pretty well written, though. And speaking of xylophones, An Inmate's Lullaby plays with some absolutely gorgeous melodies on that instrument. This track is one of the two gentle (again, no pun intended) songs on the album, featuring quiet voices and rather not aggressive harmonies. A very nice track, though it is in the end quite eclipsed by the stronger songs on In a Glass House. The side wraps up with Way of Life, a song apparently many don't appreciate so much. However, I find the band's energy and intriguing composition more than make up for the few weak vocal moments. Some spacey keyboard sequences conclude the song and the side of the LP.

The second half is much stronger, I believe. It kicks off with Experience, a less intense and much more weird song. Tightly unraveled composition (I know no other way to describe it) holds together threads that do not seem to want to fit right. It's one of Gentle Giant's trademarks, and this is one of the prime examples of this style. Wonderful piano and electric guitar in the middle and towards the end bring back the sense of drama and energy. A Reunion picks up the pieces after that song ends, providing soft orchestral backing to a quiet vocal melody, something like Think of Me with Kindness but not quite as impressive. In a Glass House, arguably the greatest song on the album, kicks off with some highly complicated guitar/bass/keys/drums interplay in the way that only this band can do. All throughout the song, complex parts are interwoven and bring out one nice track that probably is one of the most eclectic songs written by Gentle Giant in this era. And it has cowbell.

In the end, this album is wonderful. Anyone, a fan of Gentle Giant or someone completely unaware of the band, can enjoy this. I'd recommend Free Hand or Octopus first, but this is undeniably one of the better albums ever to grace the 70s.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#184995) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars In a Glass House contains longer pieces than one would expect from Gentle Giant, which proves to be, for the most part, a bad thing. Gentle Giant does an outstanding job keeping things progressive, tight, and under seven minutes. On this album, there's a lot of stuff that drags on and thus drags the album down a bit, like repetition and incongruity. The beginning and the end of this album are undoubtedly the highlights. Because of much of the middle, though, I disagree that this is their best album, but I emphasize that this is definitely worth possessing.

"The Runaway" Every time I begin this album, my wife wants to know what the hell just broke! Soon enough, the sound of glass breaking develops into a rhythm, and eventually the song proper explodes into our eager ears. Normally, Gentle Giant's music takes time to appreciate and enjoy, but right off the bat, we're treated to some of the best the band has to offer. The main riff depends greatly on a not fully distorted electric guitar and thundering bass. There is an unusually moderate amount of keyboard present for a Gentle Giant song. Kerry Minnear does an excellent job singing in the middle section, going from his usual high notes to extremely low ones. The arrangement and instrumentation are impeccable. The lyrics suggest a convict who has tired of living in his glass house, namely, a prison cell. In "The Runaway," Gentle Giant made a song that is at once full of musical complexities and yet strangely accessible; this would be a great place to start for someone new to this fantastic group.

"An Inmate's Lullaby" Perhaps one of Gentle Giant's most bizzare songs, this one is about a man in a mental institution. In a way, he is forced to inhabit a glass house, subject to people's observations and comments. The percussive music is interspersed with quaint but really creepy xylophone.

"Way of Life" A wacky rocker, Derek Shulman seems to be flat on several notes, but that might just be because the melody is such an awkward one. The musical interlude is likewise peculiar. After a third verse, there is quiet organ section during which Minnear sings softly. Despite all the preceding adjectives, "Way of Life" isn't a bad song, but isn't nearly as tight or as good as "The Runaway." It doesn't go anywhere fresh, and therefore lingers for too long. To add to the flaws of the song, the last ninety seconds consist of nothing but an organist playing the same irritating riff ad nauseum.

"Experience" The music has a renaissance feel, and changes galore. The first couple of minutes consist of Minnear singing reflectively. Later, in between a bass riff that will be the backbone for the next section, Minnear intones over a lone chapel organ. Gary Green gets a lengthy guitar solo after Shulman's rocking vocal part. The coming-of-age lyrics are some of the best Gentle Giant has written, as they describe a timeless theme regarding life.

"A Reunion" Short and sweet, the violin and cello receive an opportunity to shine, over a backdrop of acoustic guitar and well-played bass. When I hear this song, I think of it as the unlikely epilogue to a previous album entitled Three Friends.

"In a Glass House" Loaded with twelve-string guitar work and a healthy dose of ingenuity, the title track is genius, rife with time signature and tempo changes. Shulman and Minnear take turns on lead vocals. Near the end we get some resonator guitar played with a slide, unusual for Gentle Giant, who has used probably every instrument short of the kitchen sink (which they will no longer need since they broke all their glassware at the beginning of the album). The lyrics depict an interesting twist in the concept of the album: We usually think of people in a glass house as being on display at all times; what if the glass that made up the house was really mirrors? Then the person inside would be forced to reflect on himself. The very end is a short collage of all the tracks, ending with the echo of one more glass shattering.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#191559) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars While I gave Octopus a low rating, I definitely feel that In A Glass House is very much better. The feel of the music is darker on this album compared to the often too cheerful Octopus, which is apparent already by the look of the cover art. They also managed to produce lyrics that are worth taking seriously here for the first time in their career. In A Glass House is supposedly a concept album, but the concept is loose and invite you to think (instead of giggle, as was often the case on Octopus!) In A Glass House shows a more reflective, more mature Gentle Giant.

Compared to Octopus the tracks here are much longer (the title track is almost twice the length of the average track on Octopus) and allow more breaks and instrumental sections. The synthesisers sound as synthesisers should for the first time on a Gentle Giant album. Notice particularly the Moog breaks on Way Of Life.

The title track I think is a masterpiece and The Runaway is also quite excellent, even if I find the sound of breaking glass at the start annoying. I also don't like very much the repetition of short snippets of all the previous tracks at the very end of the album. But despite a couple of irritating moments, this album is really good overall.

While the music on Octopus often was extremely complex, I felt that it lacked real depth. The complexity was often of a naïve and simple kind, if that makes any sense. It was a type of complexity that jumped right out at you, and not a type of complexity that it takes several listens to reveal. I don't get that feeling while listening to In A Glass House except maybe on The Inmates Lullaby, which is slightly silly. But can get away with it here, because it tackles a serious subject after all. This is certainly not easy music to get into. I did not like it straight away when I first heard this album, it took several listens before I started to really like it, which is sometimes a mark of a good Prog album.

In a way you could see In A Glass House as the result of Gentle Giant taking all the good aspects of all their previous albums and putting them into one, leaving out much of (but not all) the bad aspects.

Recommended!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#199147) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Here I go with In a Glass House and I want truly say this one is just next masterpiece after Three Friends. It sits exactly after the biggest disappointment of the band for me - Octopus. I consider In a Glass House as the second best album by Gentle Giant after magnificent Three Friends.

The album is concept and all the songs have the same folk prog sound. In a Glass House is the most prog folk album by GG. It proves GG to do so different kind of albums. That's why I called them an ocean. Here begins a series of albums with same conception by GG. This continues with next three albums (The Power and the Glory, Free Hand and Interview) and marks the best period in band's career. This period can be characterized with dynamic conception of the band and very varied and saturated sound, revealing the enormous musicianship potential ofthe band members. Everything here, in In a Glass House, is made with routine. The sound is constant and perfectly purposed, in difference with the last album - Octopus.

All the songs are as a whole, a big entity. There aren't ideological discrepancies between the songs, which is one of the most important moments for a concept album. As I said most of the songs are prog folk, except the last one - the homonymous In a Glass House, I consider it more like symphonic prog. So all of my thoughts suggest to me, this will be without doubt 5 stars album.

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#208472) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Making Me Work for It

Gentle Giant is not known for easy to digest music. And yet, once your brain becomes accustomed to their style, their sound can be quite enjoyable. There is a warmth, love, and humor in much of their music that draws even the novice musician in. (My 6 and 8 year old kids like GG). The album In a Glass House, however, ups the ante by being less whimsical, perhaps their most complex (which is saying something, this is GG after all), and just more work to get into. Unfortunately, there are also some recording issues that make it even harder (mainly the vocals being mixed too low and the EQ being a little too sharp (too much in the highs, not enough fullness in the lower registers))

It is not surprising that on first listen in the car home from the record store, I was pretty disappointed. That was months ago, and many listens later, I must admit that there is some very essential GG here. It's worth the work. But it's not like Free Hand or Octopus that pull you in from the first listen and then continue to reward with hearing after hearing. This one is the ultimate "grower," and deserves a track- by-track.

The Runaway - Starts with the sounds of broken glass evolving into the rhythmic backbone of the song, not unlike Money by Floyd. Lots of clucky clean electric playing - both single note lines and strumming. Derek Shulman's vocals follow rather than lead here, and there are lots of different instrumental parts including recorders, big keys, dreamy harmony vocals, and complex time signatures. Toward the middle of the song, a new lead voice comes in (Kerry Minnear) and the whole song starts to pull me in a little more. There's just more thematic anchor to the second half that then allows the freedom to explore. (8/10)

An Inmate's Lullaby - This song consists of two voices, a music-box key sound, and percussion. One of the voices is mildly distorted, the percussion employs single syncopated tympani hits, and the timing is quite complex. Simply put, this one is strange, experimental even for this band. I'm not sure it works, frankly. (5/10)

Way of Life - A relatively simple riff over almost disco drums, and then Shulman singing in quite dissonant tonality that doesn't fit his voice well. This one is almost irritating at times, though certainly ambitious. However, there are many instrumental breaks and some of them are brilliant. There is a great dark minor march riff, some symphonic keys, and then back to the dissonant dance theme. That this juxtaposition works at all is remarkable, but this may be the lowlight of the album. (5/10)

Experience - Here's where things pick up a bit. Still complex and angular, Minnear's vocals again just work better than Shulman's under the demands of the chaos. The guitars are distorted, filling out their tone, and the disparate parts just hold together better. When Shulman comes in, his vocals are effected, fuller and more up front. The song just sounds better. All the things they've been trying to do all album finally click. 9/10

A Reunion - A remarkably short, quiet and simple piece, with Minnear again taking the lead. This is a much needed chance to come up for air before the final race to the finish. Pleasant ballad but not as good as the corresponding piece on Octopus (Think of Me with Kindness) 6/10

In a Glass House - Like Experience, this song contains more of a thematic core that holds the piece together. These melodies just aren't that interesting though. Shulman takes lead vocals, and it works a little better than earlier in the album. This time, interestingly, Minnear's vocals are buried when they come in midway. This song does have a nice little slide guitar bit that comes out of nowhere. 6/10

Experience (Live) - This is a bonus track on the 35th edition, and it may have saved the disc for me. Obviously, the recording process was completely different than the album. The bass is better, the vocals sit on top of the music much better, and of course there is the live energy. Like many live GG performances, this is actually a composite, and includes at least part of Runaway as well. This live track gave me another perspective on the music and a motivation to come back for further listens. Good choice for an add-on. 9/10

This album suffers from two things - the exit of older brother Phil Shulman and overambition. In combination, these lead to a loss of the warmth and humor that serves as a foil for the complexity of the music. Luckily, the band continues to hone their sound and by Free Hand have created a masterpiece that combines the best of both worlds.

This is one of the hardest reviews I've done on this site. Over time, I've considered giving this album anywhere from 2 to 4 stars. Three seems appropriate. This is still essential for the GG fans, but is for me in the bottom tier of their classic 8.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#210019) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 03, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
5 stars Two weeks ago I saw the semi-reunion gig of Gentle Giant in Gothenburg, Sweden. Before the concert I revisited Gentle Giant's discography (7 album in total, from the debut all the way to Free Hand). After listening to 6 of the albums I was finally there ... only one more album to go... I'm talking about In A Glass House, an album that I never really understood. It has always been considered the highlight of the band's catalog but never really made my jaw drop.

I finally stopped hesitating and placed the 35th Anniversary-CD into my music player. The feeling that I experienced 40 minutes later was beyond words! This time around I really appreciated songs like The Runaway, which I now consider to be one of my top 5 Gentle Giant-favorite compositions. Way Of Life is an awesome rocker but what makes it truly amazing is the middle section where Kerry Minnear takes over the lead vocals and turns this track epic! I even managed to enjoy Experience a lot more, although I still consider the second half of the track much stronger than the slow intro. An Inmate's Lullaby remains for me the weakest track. As for the title track, it has always been a favorite of mine where the band gives their all time greatest performance.

Considering that I've listened non stop to this album since my so called rediscovery of In A Glass House. I guess that it's safe to say that this release has surpassed the greatness of Free Hand and has become my favorite Gentle Giant release! But what about the reunion concert, you might ask?

Well today is your lucky day, since I am starting my Gentle Giant retrospective! As I go through every one of the seven first Gentle Giant albums and uncover my thoughts on the songs and their live versions, that I experienced just recently. The only track played at the concert from this album was (of course) the magnificent title track! This was, for me, the second biggest highlight from the set since it sounded almost as good as the studio version (minus the acoustic guitar arrangement during the intro of the track). Want to know the biggest highlight? Just keep reading those reviews of mine!

***** star songs: The Runaway (7:15) Way Of Life (7:52) In A Glass House (8:26)

**** star songs: An Inmate's Lullaby (4:40) Experience (7:50) A Reunion (2:11)

Total rating: 4,62

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#214716) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Anyone who discovers Gentle Giant through IN A GLASS HOUSE and believes they are a certified prog fan will call this an instant classic. This is very easy to get into and understand because I feel there is an accessibility factor on this album; there exist tons of passages that make me think of soul music (''Experience'') and good old-fashioned hard rock (e.g. the last half of the title track). Remember though, we still have a group playing some of the most eclectic type prog here as there are some parts that are difficult to digest, so to speak.

The playing on the album is stunning; almost makes me think that these kinds of compositions come naturally to Gentle Giant. Stylistic, dynamic and technical changes can occur of what seems to be abrupt, but the way Gentle Giant does it, they make every transition sound so natural and instinctive that it just adds to the enjoyment of the music rather than sounding awkward.

I believe plenty of tracks have uptempo rock-like structures filled with complex vocal passages which is what most prog fans will enjoy hearing, and by that, I mean ''The Runaway'', ''Experience'' and ''In a Glass House'', the three tracks most likely to please the eager prog nut. I'd put ''Way of Life'' among those if those church organ bits weren't as annoying as they are. ''A Reunion'' is a very quiet, sombre track while ''An Inmate's Lullaby'' uses very peculiar percussive rhythms, giving a kind of ''avant'' feel to the track.

There are so many great theme changes, time signature patterns, moods, atmospheres, obscure sounding lyrics and nontrivial instrumentations that anyone with a remote interest in prog rock ought to pick this up. And just for a bonus, the live cut of ''The Runaway/Experience'' is fantastic. A great entry point of the ''boys in the band''.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#217499) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars I absolutely love Gentle Giant. And I know this album is a favorite for many here, but something about this one never quite clicked with me.

I know this is the first Gentle Giant album without Philip Shulman, and it does suffer some for lack of his voice and sax. I also think that this is Derek Shulman's worst vocal performance on any GG studio album. His voice is uncharicteristically unintelligible throughout the album, taking quite a bit away from the music.

The compositions, while good, are nowhere near the level of either Octopus which came just before this album, or The Power And The Glory which immediatly followed this one. But the band has set such a high standard for themselves, that still leaves this a highly entertaining recording.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#256720) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Gentle Giant - In A Glass house (1971)

I didn't get this one....

By now Gentle Giant had become technically unbeatable in the field. This album was the last one I found for my vinyl collection. I've listened to it for ten times now and every time it ends in disappointment. I just don't like this album, though I feel ashamed admitting it. I understand it's a technical achievement for the progressive scene, but I don't like the songs that much.

Somehow this album makes me feel uncomfortable. It starts with the unpleasant guitar amplification on the first song (did they try to get an surf rock sound?!), get's amplified by the pling plong synthesizers throughout the album and finishes with the out of pitch vocals that are hard to bear. Among the problematic parts of the album are parts of pure genius. The great spacey guitar parts in the middle section of The Runaway, An inmate's Lullaby is nice throughout and some parts of the second side are very rewarding too. But overall it just isn't as good as the other seven album from Gentle Giant's big GG8. Some emotional parts might have suited the album well instead of the continues freak parts.

Conclusion. For now three stars. I would never give up on a Gentle Giant record and I hope to rewrite/add some information and some stars in the Future. For now three stars will do. I just didn't get this one...

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#260693) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IN A GLASS HOUSE is Gentle Giant's fifth album, and the fully-realized product of a band at the height of their creative and musical powers. It's an essential part of their core catalog of weird and wonderful releases from their 1972 to '76 heyday.

Giant's eccentric sound (which is, of course, unlike that of any of their prog contemporaries) had firmly solidified by their fourth release, OCTOPUS. The band knew what kind of music they wanted to make, and they enjoyed the unbridled artistic freedom to do so. They certainly weren't afraid to experiment, and to combine their many musical influences, from rock, to jazz to classical and renaissance, into a new -- and frankly bizarre -- hybrid. In short, at their best Gentle Giant were true originals who fearlessly blazed their own trail,. First and foremost, they sought to please themselves with their wonderfully strange music. If some open-minded listeners actually happened to "get it" and bought their albums and attended their concerts, then so much the better, but commercial success was never the band's primary goal. To this day, Gentle Giant's vocalist and front man Derek Shulman expresses surprise that their oddball music managed to find a fairly large, appreciative fan base. A major part of their relative success had to be the times; things were different in the rock world of the early to mid 70s, and experimentation, for artists and listeners alike, was often the order of the day. It's hard to imagine a risk-taking modern-day equivalent of Gentle Giant finding major-label backing and total creative freedom, let alone a sizable and dedicated fan base.

IN A GLASS HOUSE, then, is the masterful issue of that happy marriage of utter freedom and creativity with outstanding musicianship. Because I grew up on the "left" side of the Atlantic, I never had this album "back in the day," and was unaware of it, despite my being a committed Giant follower. (IN A GLASS HOUSE was originally unreleased in North America.) It was quite a revelation for me to experience this seamless, fantastic album just a few years ago, when I bought the re-mastered 35th Anniversary Edition. (This fine edition boasts excellent sound and instrumental definition, plus a wonderful '76 live recording of "Experience." That they could routinely do this convoluted stuff note-for-note, night after night on stage further demonstrates just how consummately talented the Giant men were as musicians.) Track for track, this is undoubtedly one of the very best Gentle Giant works, and particularly strong songs such as "The Runaway," "Way of Life," "Experience" and the title track easily rate with the anything from their best albums.

Overall, IN A GLASS HOUSE just might be my favourite Gentle Giant album. It easily warrants five stars as a "masterpiece of progressive rock." Not to be missed!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#285840) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars While many fans list Octopus as the band's best, there's also a good contingent of Gentle Giant fans that rate this as number one. In a way, I can see where they're coming from - the concept and lyrics are good, the ideas are complex and twisted without becoming irritating, the arrangements are as creative and untrivial as ever, etc. Yet while after many listens I can see all these positives, this album has nowhere near the same amount of impact on me that Octopus always has, and I don't think that additional listens will change that.

The main problems stem from the fact that the band decided to abandon the "slam tons of ideas into a short time period" approach for a "let's make the songs based on these ideas long" approach. Yup, the number of tracks has been cut to six, and four of them last over seven minutes; this is hardly a bad thing in and of itself, but in terms of keeping my interest throughout, the songs don't measure up to the lengthier excursions of, say, Yes. There are simply far too many moments on this album where the arrangements, while just as impressive technically as before, lull my head into a stupor and force me to fight the urge to nod off. It also hurts that the vocal parts aren't that good even by Gentle Giant standards - except for the lovely (and perfectly appropriate) delivery that Derek gives in "Inmate's Lullaby," it seems like the band (Derek especially) just included the sung parts for the sake of including them, without bothering to put any conviction behind them (which is a shame since, as mentioned earlier, the lyrics are just fine).

Still, every track on here has decent enough 'raw materials.' They may not be put to the best use, often interrupted with quieter parts that add little to my listening enjoyment, but I would be lying if I said that, when looking at the track listing, any of the songs make me gag and lament my precious lost seconds of life. I'm not big on "Way of Life," which has a cool dancable (ha) foundation but little else (that is, little else that I like - there's a lot going on in the track, it's just that not much of it makes me care), but I gotta admit it's funny to hear such a thing on a prog album (especially when I know that the band saw it as complex prog and not as proto-disco). Aside from the pretty (but underdeveloped) "A Reunion," though, everything has at least a few solid chunks of quality. "The Runaway" starts the album on an extremely high note, with a rhythmic groove formed out of samples of glass breaking (not making this up), then turns into what could be an excellent intense piece (with great tight work from everybody) with a fine vocal melody, but is instead dragged down by the total lack of effort from the vocals and extreme excess in the mid-song jam. Cut this to five minutes from seven, and I'd be a happy man - as is, I'm just a mildly content man.

The tracks bookending the second side are also quite good, though each has passages that I definitely think should have been left on the cutting-room floor. "Experience" starts off much like something from Octopus (both in style and quality), then eventually enters a fine groove (with a great guitar and bass line), but also meanders into generic (and in this case boring) medievalism too many times for my liking. Still, what a great groove, even if Derek's voice adds little. As for the title track, it more or less bypassed me the first eight times I listened to the album, but I think that was just a function of me being tired. A lot of it seems somewhat like Gentle-Giant-By-Numbers to me (though that's not necessarily a bad thing), but it gets great in the second half, where we suddenly get this killer hard rock groove that has bits of steel guitar here and there that closes out the album.

For all of the ambiguous praise that I can give most of the album, though, there is actually one track that I can't whine about. "An Inmate's Lullaby" is a perfect look inside the mind of somebody locked away in a mental institution, with odd processed Derek vocals, the best use of vibes you'll ever hear, and just such a bizarrely pleasant atmosphere that I can't help but love it. I actually almost get the feeling that Peter Gabriel, when putting together Birdy ten years later, took a listen or two to this track (if he didn't, and I'm guessing he didn't, the resemblance is freaky) - substitute the vibes for marimbas, lay on a grumbling static synth pattern and muffle the singing, and you wouldn't be that far from that mid-80's soundtrack.

So basically, it's a good album (and just short of a **** rating from me). Unfortunately, it's a noticable slip from the band's previous accomplishments - the complexity of melodies and arrangements is just as high as ever, but the ability to make the casual listener care about it is on the decline (though not gone by any means). If you're a hardcore prog fan, you might adore it, though.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#293821) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 08, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars After my disappointment with Octopus I was slightly hesitant to continue drilling my way through the Gentle Giant discography. But the abundance of critical acclaim for second 4-album batch motivated me to do so anyway. Album number 5 on the list is an ok Giant album but it's still not as mesmerizing as Acquiring the Taste and Three Friends.

The album rocks harder then Octopus and with the opening killer track it takes a strong start. I like the samples of the glass shattering that sets the rhythm for the main riff. The weird baroque vocals are still an acquired taste and sometimes sound a bit gimmicky, just like the endless renaissance indulgences. I can't say I'm overwhelmed with powerful emotions when listening to them.

The songs go through the typical Gentle Giant motions, with lots of strange twists, angular riffs and mathematical precision. It's a very studied type of music and there's no room for sonic experimentation, noise, improvisation or other frivolous things. The resulting effect is a bit sterile and lifeless, but it's technically perfect and probable very satisfying/frustrating for the musicians amongst us.

It's excellent music but it misses something, it lacks the spontaneity and looseness that speaks to the imagination and tickles the senses. Surely a recommended title fans.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#300092) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A solid Giant album with a f*cking awesome(please excuse my French, but no other word seems quite strong enough) denouement in the form of the final, album-titled track, which showcases the group at their edgiest and best. Featuring a rip-snorting guitar riff from Gary Green, 'In A Glass House' must surely rank as one of the best individual pieces Gentle Giant ever concocted, coming as it does on their first genuine classic album. Of course, after 'In A Glass House' the Giant would concoct another two fantastic albums in the shape of the heavy- edged 'The Power & The Glory' and the intensely-eclectic 'Free Hand', but it is here that the group really flex their progressive muscles. With the departure of elder brother Phil Schulman, gone is the kitchen-sink humour and twee, medieval tinges that gave early albums such as 'Three Friends' and 'Octopus' their artistic bells, instead replaced with ballsy rock sections that juxtapose brilliantly with the more sedate, classically-informed moments. As an album 'In A Glass House' ranks highly, though incredibly, despite the undoubted quality on offer, the Giant would go on to better this hugely-entertaining album twice over in the following three years. Seen by many as the beginning of their golden period, this is a scintillating piece of progressive music that, technically-speaking at least, puts honoured groups such as Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes to shame. Great stuff. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#303895) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If I consider the score and the amount of reviews on PA for this fifth GG album, it is the best of the band. There are lots of five stars ratings and dithyrambic reviews (masterpiece, outstanding gem, powerful vocals, etc.).

Since I only moderately like their music, I was quite curious to discover this work (I only got three of their albums during their classic period and did not get into GG more than that since 2004).

What I can say is that there are indeed some good songs featured on this "Glass House" but none is getting me by the guts. It is true to say that this effort is more accessible; some songs even feature some pop moments (which is far from being the band's mould so far).

I have to say that this is even embarrassing at times. Anyway, most aspects of the classic GG are still present even if the usual complexity is maybe a bit set aside. Jazzy atmosphere, folkish ambience, medieval passages and all the likes can be discovered throughout the album. So, even if one of the brothers is missing, the global mood of "In A Glass House" is not so unconventional.

It is a good album for sure, with longer songs than usual. But no highlights as far as I am concerned. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#308508) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 06, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars In a Glass House is an absolute Gentle Giant masterpiece. The songwriting here is more sophisticated that is has been in the past, and the musicianship still reigns supreme, and the compositions are still incredibly complex if not more so. This music is highly eclectic and jam packed full of instruments from all eras of time, consisting of the obvious guitars and percussion but also violins, flutes and various medieval instruments. One thing that I've always loved about Gentle Giant is the absence of organ sounds, usually opting for much more interesting keyboard variations. Most of the music is full of energy, but is always wildly creative and never boring in th least.

Very highly recommended masterly crafted eclectic prog.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#429414) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 08, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars While this album sadly loses the warmth and playfulness of their earlier recordings, there can be no doubt that 'In a Glass House' was Gentle Giant's finest moment. 1973, the year that gave you classics like Caravan's 'For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night', ELP's 'Brain Salad Surgery', Genesis's 'Selling England By The Pound', Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and Yes's 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' now brings you this masterpiece album. I own the Alucard CD, which was remastered as late as 2009! The remastering is the best I have ever heard, and the songs actually sound like they were recorded yesterday. Everything is crystal clear, and there is not even any tape hiss!

Beginning with the raw sound of breaking glass, The Runaway is surely very easy on the ears for fans of Yes, Genesis and the like. The playing throughout is extroadinary, and is very close in sound to the 'natural' prog sound, whatever that is. The beat is constantly kept up, although time signatures are obviously changed. The song flows perfectly from riff to riff. This is a flawless start to an amazing album.

Gentle Giant had done 'creepy' before with songs like Edge of Twilight and Schooldays. However, An Inmate's Lullaby never fails to give me goosebumps. Utilising extremely eerie vocal effects, this song is the musical definition of claustrophobic. Though the instruments sound quiet, they feel extremely close, and often there are two people singing at the same time, making it harder to work out what's going on. The lyrics are horrifying too, and sound as if they are read by a simple person: 'Eating flowers growing in the garden where there are tasty tulips and I don't care if I wet my trousers'. The sentences all run together. Scarier too are lyrics like 'Hurt myself this morning, doctor gave me warning', and I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying'. This one could give you nightmares, which is why it is utter genious.

The antidote to this scariness is a bit of fun. The next track Way Of Life starts with someone shouting 'GO!' The 4/4 starting riff makes this track sound much lighter than the last track. Of course the song doesn't stay in 4/4 for long. This song is actually the closest I think Gentle Giant came to sounding cool! At about the 2:30 mark, the song changes to a very different sound, which will define the beautiful outro, but not before another repeat of the introduction to the song. After the outro though is something completely different. In fact the final 1:40 is just Kerry Minnear playing something ghastly on the keys, and I don't like it at all, but I don't let it ruin the otherwise fantastic song.

Experience is a track that slowly builds up to something superb. While not as instantly gripping as it's other 7 minute counterparts, this track is nonetheless enjoyable all the way through, and there's a great guitar solo towards the end of the track. If you need more reason to listen to this song, there is a section in 6 2/3 over 4, and the outro is in 9/4.

Beginning with a heartbeat - coincidentally the beginning to the Floyd album released in the same year - A Reunion is Gentle Giants chance to take a breather. This is an acoustic track, with only acoustic guitar, bass guitar and violins being used. There's nothing particularly interesting about this track, but it creates a very welcome change in atmosphere in the record.

The title track In a Glass House is my favourite on the record, simply because of the great themes used. This track uses many different genres as inspiration, and you'll hear tempo, instrumentation, time signature and mood change several times within this track. This track actually feels more like two songs joined together, at about 4:15. Both parts are very cool, but musically they don't coincide at all. Afterwards there is an outro to the album using clips from all 6 songs, and the sound of smashing glass once again.

'In a Glass House' seems extremely different to the groups earlier albums, more serious and somehow far more proggy. This fine album showcases some of Gentle Giant's best compositions, but more fantastic songs were on their way. To me though, this is their magnum opus.

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#432668) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The departure of Phil Shulman did mean that Gentle Giant lost his saxophone playing, but rather than simply replacing him the band took the opportunity to hone and tighten up their sound. This narrows the diversity of the tracks on In a Glass House a little compared with previous albums, but on the plus side this helps the band to focus on the album's concept, which centres around ideas of imprisonment, confinement and surveillance in society.

And really, even though there isn't any more sax playing from Phil we're still dealing with classic-era Gentle Giant, so the album covers far more musical territory than many of its contemporaries and shows more than enough variety and complexity to keep prog fans happy. One of the best things about Gentle Giant is their talent for creating compositions which are on the one hand extremely complex but yet at the same time are insanely catchy, and this skill is out in full force on this album. Ranging from the delicate and gentle to the wild and rocking, In a Glass House is yet another Gentle Giant classic.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#508060) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars Gentle Giant's "In A Glass House" is one of their most popular albums, and in fact receives high ratings from many reviewers. The lineup are infamous as one of the all time greats in prog history. Gary Green is awesome on 6 & 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion, alto recorder, Kerry Minnear is brilliant on keyboards, tuned percussion, recorder, vocals, Derek Shulman is a marvel on vocals, alto sax, soprano sax, recorder, Ray Shulman is particularly great on this, playing bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, and John Weathers is magnificent on drums. This is one time when everything went right and, when the chemistry was evident, nothing could stop these influential pioneers of prog; these progenitors of eclectic rock.

It begins with glass smashing, as if stones were being thrown into windows in a rhythmic meter, on the warm melodic 'The Runaway', and this classic song is literally shattering the boundaries from the outset. Gentle Giant love to break walls of musical boundaries down as is evident on all of their earlier albums. The fractured guitar rhythms, percussion and keyboards are thrown about like stones exploding into shatters as they hit their target. This album certainly has it's fair share of quirky pieces such as 'An Inmate's Lullaby', a paean to a mental institution, with a ton of crazy glockenspiel, a seizure of guitar chords, and insane time sigs throughout. The polyphonic or metronomic time sigs are prevalent with some of the oddest switches in musical tempos you will hear. The music bounces all over the place and injects that whimsical sense of fun; the band never took themselves as seriously as their critics.

The quirky edge is heard on the jaunty manic phrases on 'Way of Life', that begins with the shout of "Go!" Then the band in fact do go for it with no holds barred relish. This track has that medieval flavour that the Giant loved to explore, sounding like some fairy tale at times with instruments more suited to the 18th century Elizabethan era. Then the organ and heavy guitar joins to remind us this is 20th century prog. The lyrics are as fragmented and crazy as the music; "You'll find an answer, You've got to believe in your own way of life, So you'll have to find an answer, You'll have to find a way, try to find, try to find, You'll try to question her, Does she believe in the choice of your life, So you have to try to ask her, when you are away, left behind, out of mind, away."

'Experience' opens side two with glorious fanfare, along with that weird high vocal register and some wonderful basslines. The music is a circus sideshow of keyboard whimsy and frantic guitar spasms. The sigs are twisted into shapes and turned inside out and the band keep up, tighter beyond compare. The glockenspiel is followed by courtly a capella harmonies, the trademark of Gentle Giant. The lead break is fat and muscular and I like how the more forced vocals break through the technical layers of music. This is definitely one of the best Gentle Giant songs showcasing all that they stood for in one sitting.

'A Reunion' is a short little piece infusing very calm melancholy strings and vocals; "Meeting in this way who could have known, How our destinies and ways apart have grown, Looking still the same after all these years changing only in my memories not clear, and believing all futures we would share." This makes a nice departure from the complex time sigs and is quite a serene piece with Ray Shulman's violins becoming so essential to the sound.

'In a Glass House' ends the album on a mini epic, opening with intricate phrases on bass, drums, violin, mandolin, chimes and whatever else they could get their hands on. The medieval troubadour flair is obvious and the vocals have a nice rhythm spouting imagery of some fanciful musings; "Living in a glass house shielding all that's meant for me, Can you clear the shade and can you tell me what you see, Shadow fills the light until the glass house becomes the night, dark is gleaming or am I dreaming." The instrumental break is incredible with tons of brass, woodwind and a dynamic bass punctuation. It is complex and impossible to emulate but incredibly infectious. When it breaks into the heavy guitar riff I am completely entranced by this amazing composition. This is quite possibly the greatest gentle Giant song, they saved the best for last. It features the weird little courtly moments of Elizabethan charm sandwiched in between the heavy guitar augmentations, that seems to be playing in a 29/8 time sig if that were possible, though Gentle Giant make it possible. It ends with another pot shot of glass breaking and thus a legendary album was thrown through the glass house of the musical industry to the masses.

Gentle Giant tip their hat at the establishment, the stuffy musical industry, and show it is possible to play brilliant music and still have fun. "In A Glass House" is quintessential Giant without a doubt, all killer and no filler where everything just worked. The band are obviously virtuosos and deserve their high powered reputation. This is definitely one of the best albums from their catalogue, along with "Power and the Glory", "Free Hand", "Acquiring the Taste" and "Three Friends". Masterpiece is the only way to describe it as everything on "In A Glass House" is incredible legendary prog, without a shadow of a doubt.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#849870) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 04, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Absolutely, this is the Giant at its peak. Even with the departure of one of the Shulmans, they seemed to come up revitalized from their last album at the time (Octopus). In A Glass House has elements that once again, proved that only the Giant could do an effort like this one, and this is one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#1009609) | Posted by Fredfolkblues | Thursday, August 01, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Many people consider In A Glass House the band's best work, and it's no surprise. This still has the Gentle Giant flavor, but it is perhaps their most listenable album out of their pre-Interview period. I would say the music is a tad more serious than on Octopus, but conversely a bit more melodic. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#809653) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a wonderful thing. I have a feeling I had known the songs before I heard them. The runway-It's like Giants' message: "we are here and we are an interesting prog band. So listen to this f* great album" An Inmate's Lullaby- I have mixed feelings about this song. I know it's very genious, ... (read more)

Report this review (#778824) | Posted by Glucose | Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is Gentle Giant at their most difficult experimental and challenging best. Tight grooving rhythms topped with technical proficiency unlike any other band was capable of. Romps through guitar rock , classical renaissance voicing and madrigal singing, its really Gentle Giant performing on all ... (read more)

Report this review (#588927) | Posted by Glimmung | Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. With this album Gentle Giant appears to have reached his stardom, and he gets high marks here on the site (being seen as the work - the band's material), it seems that this is a thought shared by many reviewers. Well, I've never been a ... (read more)

Report this review (#516408) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Gentle Giant has been one of my favorite re-discoveries of 2011. Brilliant composition and performance with often quirky and unsustained or more intellectual or mathematical melodies. One of the most highly acclaimed GG discs has moments of sheer brilliance, but, IMHO, not enough to be able to claim ... (read more)

Report this review (#459478) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ah, In a Glass House. This is Giant's 5th album, and the first after the departure of elder Shulman brother Phil. For me this is probably the masterpiece of the GG discography, and from the rhythmic loop of the breaking glass in The Runaway, the album makes a super convincing, near irrefutable ... (read more)

Report this review (#437314) | Posted by bdsynchronicity88 | Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm glad that Kerry sings on a good portion of this album, but generally for me, vocals have always been the weakest point in Gentle Giant's studio albums. However, GG's live video of "I Lost My Head" showcases the best vocal performance I have seen of Shulman as of yet. But I always thought t ... (read more)

Report this review (#411313) | Posted by dubovsky | Friday, March 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There's two of us now! In a Glass House is Gentle Giant's first album after Phil Shulman's departure, after the Three Friends album was released in 1972. The album features a drastical musical improvement, or, at least, a very new musical direction. It can be called a combination of Rush, Can ... (read more)

Report this review (#285640) | Posted by The Runaway | Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I listened to this yesterday and it just struck me how bad the lead vocalist is. No wonder they could not have as much charting success as they wanted! It's terrible for me to think that one of their albums made the top 50 on the US album charts! A lot of prog bands have the prog box ticked, ... (read more)

Report this review (#282293) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is VERY close to being a 5 star album, but falls ever so slightly short of "Essential" status. My personal opinion is that for their whole career, Gentle Giant were more or less building up to the phenomenal works of art that are "The Power and The Glory" and "Free Hand". This album sees t ... (read more)

Report this review (#212803) | Posted by Eapo_q42 | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my first review on this site, so I figure I'd start with reviewing my favorite album of my currently favorite band. I was first turned onto this band by hearing Experience on the playlist of this site. Therefore it enticed me to download the rest of the songs from this album, (don't get m ... (read more)

Report this review (#210177) | Posted by Kyle-Discovenant | Saturday, April 04, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I wish I could give this one 6 stars. This one is the absolute best of GG and perhaps even thé ultimate progressive album of all times. All the genres known to man are woven into the 6 pieces that this album contains. From rock to jazz to medieval to avant-garde to classical to country. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#189587) | Posted by Kingsnake | Monday, November 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Nice album for converted Giant freaks, but I'd hesitate to recommend this one to anyone just starting to explore the band. The vocals here can really be a challenge. Take 'Way of Life,' for example, where at *times* (not always, folks) it becomes so bad it is excruciating. Horribly off key to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#184498) | Posted by Jeff Carney | Thursday, October 02, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In a Glass House is like making a Three Friends and Octopus sandwich, eating really fast, and being left for wanting more. This dense and intricate album is phenomenal, and is probably my second favorite album from my favorite band. Great use of counterpoint and dissonance. The album feels like ... (read more)

Report this review (#163154) | Posted by kabright | Tuesday, March 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I bought this album after I read a couple of very positive reviews and I must say I was a little disappointed. At the time, I had just purchased the three first Gentle Giant album and I guess I was expecting too much of this one, seeing it standing so high in the top of the Ŧ most popular prog a ... (read more)

Report this review (#160570) | Posted by Karbo | Saturday, February 02, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5/5! One of THE progressive masterpieces of all time! I have to say, In A Glass House is without any doubt the essential Gentle Giant masterpiece that all progressive fans should put in their collections ASAP. I don't typically give out fives like candy but reserve them for killer albums like this ... (read more)

Report this review (#158145) | Posted by Draith | Wednesday, January 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Over the years GG has become one of my favorite, if not my favorite, prog rock band. Their fusion of rock, jazz and classical is unmatched in the prog world. That being said, In a Glass House is one of my favorite records of all-time. But it wasn't love at first listen. It took me several tri ... (read more)

Report this review (#157330) | Posted by wbiphoto | Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first album without Phil Shulman, but still with the other two shulmans, you might be wondering if this band will go the path of Genesis once losing their inspiration. But in fact, Gentle Giant still contained 5 extraordinary musicians capable of blowing the collective minds of their fans. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#155801) | Posted by The Ace Face | Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is pure genius. It is a very serious attempt at strange, complex, and sometimes medieval prog rock. This was my first encounter with the giant and it is still my favourite! There is so much good stuff here that it's hard to keep track of. The songs are all over the place in a good way ... (read more)

Report this review (#132332) | Posted by purplepiper | Wednesday, August 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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