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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed in 1970 in London, UK- Disbanded in 1980

GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

See also: Three Friends

GENTLE GIANT Videos (YouTube and more)


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OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
$7.29
$22.90 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard 2010
$7.76
$4.00 (used)
Playing The Fool - TPlaying The Fool - T
Remastered
Alucard 2010
$7.69
$7.70 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Island Def Jam 1990
$5.79
$3.36 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard 2010
$7.18
$7.70 (used)
Gentle Giant -  Gentle Giant/Acquiring The TasteGentle Giant - Gentle Giant/Acquiring The Taste
BGO 2015
$11.82
$9.70 (used)
Live At The Bicentennial [2 CD]Live At The Bicentennial [2 CD]
Alucard 2014
$10.59
$9.54 (used)
InterviewInterview
Remastered
Alucard 2010
$9.98
$21.97 (used)
Three Piece Suite [Blu-ray]Three Piece Suite [Blu-ray]
ALUCARD RECORDS 2017
$15.19
$15.85 (used)
Totally Out of the WoodsTotally Out of the Woods
Hux Records 2000
$199.98
$34.84 (used)
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GENTLE GIANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GENTLE GIANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 1147 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.26 | 1428 ratings
Acquiring The Taste
1971
4.10 | 1168 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.29 | 1828 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.34 | 1577 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.30 | 1482 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1409 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.73 | 704 ratings
Interview
1976
2.95 | 521 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.30 | 449 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.75 | 410 ratings
Civilian
1980

GENTLE GIANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.52 | 416 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.58 | 25 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.11 | 58 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.40 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.12 | 60 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.03 | 29 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.86 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.13 | 45 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.98 | 20 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.22 | 14 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.85 | 13 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 22 ratings
Experience
2002
1.41 | 8 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.92 | 10 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.94 | 14 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.21 | 10 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
2.50 | 7 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.39 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.90 | 26 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.92 | 28 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.63 | 189 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.26 | 94 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.49 | 19 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
4.09 | 2 ratings
Gentle Giant
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.39 | 55 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.13 | 63 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.23 | 36 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.21 | 31 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.24 | 22 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.17 | 14 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013
4.33 | 33 ratings
Three Piece Suite
2017

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.62 | 13 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.50 | 16 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.36 | 23 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.54 | 13 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.83 | 6 ratings
Give It Back
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.88 | 8 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.45 | 11 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
3.00 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.56 | 8 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.33 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.17 | 6 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Underground
1980
2.20 | 5 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009
1.62 | 4 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 1828 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Gentle Giant has always been celebrated as one of the more out there classic prog bands, at least out of the fairly widely known ones. They has a consistent track record of putting out album after album of short albums that focus more on dense, ever changing compositions as opposed to longer, more grandiose strectches of music, with a major part of their sound being centred around complex vocal arrangements. This album is the first of the three albums by the band where they took this complexity to another level in certain respects, especially these vocal arrangements, at times being downright labyrinthine. With that said, Octopus is also one of the most accessible ones albums by Gentle Giant, having more melodic moments and embracing a medieval folk sound. Despite all that has so far been said, I can also say with fair certainty that this is my least favourite of the classic era GG albums, as I find a couple of the songs to either be quite dull or at the very least, nothing special. I feel like a lot of this comes down to these extremely short song structures causing there to be very little breathing room, eliminating the expansive nature of many of the prog greats. That said, the album still isn't a bad one, just a less appealing one to me when stacked up against the rest of the band's discography.

The Advent Of Panurge starts off the album in a very strong way, with a quiet, pretty melody that quickly begins the wonderful layering that the band applies, backed up by occasional hints of guitar. The song picks up very quickly however, with a groovy bassline backed up by what almost feels like random piano keys being played, some moments with high energy, others being soft and dreamy, right before kicking back in with another idea, all around very jazzy, never sitting still, but with a great central melody. Raconteur Troubadour is a more conventional song in certain respects, with a more focused central theme and a more beautiful, heavily medieval sound. As with the previous song, this one quickly picks up as well, briefly becoming frantic before settling right back down with its main verse, the chorus being rhythmically interesting as it constantly sounds as if it's lagging slightly behind, before making a quick sprint to catch up, repeating this process many times over. My favourite part of the song is definitely the instrumental section in the middle, softly building up with an increasingly fast drum while violins are played wonderfully, before it briefly bursts into a cheery, almost regal sounding section filled with trumpet. Unfortunately, after these first two amazing songs, the album doesn't leave the listener with too many great tracks, one of the most notable ones being A Cry For Everyone, which is more energetic and more rock oriented, but this energy ends up feeling extremely wasted thanks to the weakness of every part involving vocals, and the keyboard use does come off as very cheesy and underwhelming for the most part.

The album manages to avoid falling flat here by following up this weak track with the absolutely perfect Knots, which is easiy one of my favourite songs by the band, and undoubtedly the highlight of this album. The vocal layering present here is absolutely spot on all the way throughout, sounding so incredibly precise, starting out minimalistic, including literally no instrument other than the voice, before briefly including some quick xylophone, before going back to the minimal amount of instrumental work. the song then takes it to another level when it follows the near non existent rhythm and becomes bouncier and more cold and otherworldly, before gradually singing higher notes until the instrumentation fully comes in, sounding almost apocalyptic in nature. The layering of the vocals all throughout the song are nothing short of mind bending , and become more and more impressive the more you try concentrating on the insane rhythmic interplay going on. The Boys in the Band is a better showcase of the band playing something energetic than the poor Cry For Everyone, still displaying a lot of the intricacies of the slower, more calcukated tracks, but giving it enough of a powerful twist to make it interesting, especially that really great saxophone that appears about midway through.

Dog's Life is a folksy little ditty that really does nothing for me. It has a saccharine quality to it that turns me off immensely, and the overbearing classical sound really doesn't seem to work as well here as it did in Peel The Paint, this one just coming off as cheesy. Think of Me With Kindness is better than Dog's Life, but I'm just not as keen on the ballad type songs that the band puts out, I feel like they're far less adventurous and that the band lacks the ability to make a truly beautiful melody that has any impact for more than a few seconds, with them being fun and quirky almost always working out far better for them. That said, this is at the very least a pleasant song, which is better than can be said about a couple of other songs here. River is a strange song, on one hand, I like the abrasive edge it has, with the vocal melody being quite wonky and seemingly out of place with the instrumentation, but on the other hand, I feel like there are too many moments of this in which it just ends up working terribly, such as the quieter section near the start where Derek Shulman tries and fails to sing decent high notes. I also feel like the song ends up meandering quite a bit, with the middle section transitioning right back into more off key singing that's just retreading the opening section, which also wasn't particularly great. Overall, while the song is definitely interesting, I can't say it works particularly well on a level beyond this.

Despite the fact that this album has some of the best songs that Gentle Giant would make, and the shift towards even more complex music is one that I personally love, the uneven nature of this album really drags it down. Certain song just bore me, with a couple being straight up bad in my opinion. However, due to the fact that I am a big fan of the songs here that are good, I would still say that this album is one to listen ot at least once, as when it's good, it's really good. I personally believe that the band would move on to make the two best albums of their career past this point, and this album is definitely responsible for sowing the seeds that would eventually grow into those absolute gems, showing greater prominence in rhythmic interplay and all around instrumenal weirdness. Definitely an interesting album for sure, just not one I personally can enjoy to its fullest extent.

Best songs: The Advent Of Panurge, Raconteur Troubadour, Knots (this one is especially recommended)

Weakest songs: A Cry For Everyone, Dog's Life, River

Verdict: Despite being more accessible in certain ways, this is also the start of Gentle Giant taking their already complex songwriting to the next level. It unfortunately falters in some places, but definitely at least partially makes up for it with the great tracks. I'd recommend listening to their previous 2 albums, Acquiring the Taste and Three Friends first before trying this one out, but this has enough good material to warrant at least one listen, especially if you're a fan of more calculated, intricate music.

 Civilian by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.75 | 410 ratings

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Civilian
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Contre-emploi.

Robert deNiro making a comedy, Jim Carrey acting as a depressed person, Tom Cruise as a bad guy, Meryl Streep as a rockstar: it's called contre-emploi. Here Gentle Giant is less gentle but more giant and dropped most of it's panache at the door. So what to expect in this contre-emploi?

A straightforward rock album. Like Kelsey Grammer in X-Men Last Stand, Gentle Giant is trying to fit in but their style is still recognizable. The songs are rocking hard and mostly fast-paced but it's still GG, no doubt.

So why the bashing? I don't entirely get it. It's an attempt to attract a larger crowd, to broaden your horizons. It didn't quite got the welcome they wanted, but it's far from a bad record, and certainly not a boring one.

I've heard much more pathetic attempts at being hip with Kiss, Aerosmith or Guns N' Roses so cut Gentle Giant some flippin' slack, will ya? Geez.

 Civilian by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.75 | 410 ratings

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Civilian
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "Civilian" is a completely different record in comparison to "Missing Piece" and "Giant for a Day", because the aforementioned were transition, transformation albums: they had an uncertain identity, while Civilian has its own clear identity, it is a very well defined, homogeneous album that proposes a new sound. The transformation has been completed: Gentle Giant have become a rock band in step with industrial, citizen new wave. Progressive rock has been definitively abandoned, archived: it is part of the past.

The nine songs of Civilian present a new band, which we don't know, a real discovery. "Convenience" is a fast rock song with an industrial sound (vote 7+). "All Through The Night" is a conventional piece strophe-refrain, with a good work by Gary Green at the electric guitar (vote 6,5). Kerry Minnear sings in "Shadows on The Street": good piano ballad, with sophisticated beginning, but it fades too quicky (vote 7,5). The hard rock guitar by Green, protagonist of the album along with the drums of Weathers, back in, a good conventional rock song: "Number one" (vote 7+). Noises of urban transport describe the beginning of the song that is perhaps the most emblematic of the album, fully representing the concept of the Lp: the alienation of people in the mass industrial society, in modern cities (vote7,5/8). Shots of photography introduce "I Am to Camera" (vote 7,5), very sustained rhythm, good singing. The album has now a beatiful passage with the sequence of the two previous tracks. Kerry Minnear is really in the background, but luckily with the next song, "Inside Out" (the longest, almost six minutes) we can listen to his keyboards (I guess electric piano). It's difficult to hear Ray Shulman's bass. Anyway the song is too much repetetive (vote 7).

The last two songs are the final rush. "It's Not Imagination" is fast and sustained, and includes some dissonances of the old times. It recall some prog songs of the past. Good solo on the guitar. Anyway, the track is weak (6,5). "Heroes No More" is a good rock and roll, mid- tempo, very solid (vote 7,5)

Civilian is a record of discreet musical quality, well-made, but all in all not very inspired. It's a Lp made more with the experience and the tricks of the trade than for an artistic urgency. It remains a brave album of a band that wanted to change skin and present himself new to the eighties. In fact it's a debut. It had to be a new beginning, but, given the bad commercial response, it was the end of Gentle Giant. Honor to Gentle Giant

Medium quality of the songs: 7,17. Vote album: 6,5. Rating: Two Stars.

 Three Piece Suite by GENTLE GIANT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
4.33 | 33 ratings

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Three Piece Suite
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

3 stars Good music, but not really treading any new ground. It seems Steven Wilson is only involved with one item here, a single length version of "Nothing at All" one of Gentle Giants many classic songs. Still, as with any authorized release, the quality and craftsmanship is awesome. The real attraction for the initiated is the unreleased track but there's no fireworks on that one. Overall, the material is from their first three albums so it's not a complete overview and while it has some great and good tracks, it leaves fans wanting more. This album did solidify my thinking "Nothing at All" ranks among the classic rock era's great songs side by side with mainstays like Stairway to Heaven etc. and "Schooldays" I rank among their best work.
 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.10 | 1168 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I would say that this is definitely the most accessible of the main era of Gentle Giant (ranging from self titled to Free Hand), having very few moments of dense, experimental works like they are known for, and instead having more moments that are simply beautiful, still maintaining enough of the classic Gentle Giant feel, making a truly great record. This is where the band began making full use of their signature layered vocals, making it more than just a gimmick or cool effect, and instead making it one of the main features of the album.

The first two songs, 'Prologue' and 'Schooldays' demonstrate this perfectly, both using it as a central aspect of the compositions, full of mellotron and pleasant melodies. The main acoustic line in 'Schooldays further improves upon the tone that the album has, being quite pleasant in general, with each element not standing out as quirky or difficult as what is generally the case with Gentle Giant, instead simply making each song quite complex in composition in a subtle way, so on the surface, it seems quite simple. 'Schooldays' also has a really great middle section, becoming mildly creepy as it increases in volume, before going back to the wonderfully happy main section of the song.

After these first two songs, the album takes a harder rock approach, with more catchy elements thrown in. 'Working All Day' makes excellent use of the saxophone and Hammond organ, with the saxophone producing an excellent main melody that is incredibly catchy. The Hammond organ solo is also quite good, providing something to mix up the song, stopping it from being dull. 'Peel the Paint' is easily my favourite song on the album, and one of my favourites by the band as a whole. The way the beautiful classical sound slowly changes into a full blown rock track is such an amazing moment, the powerful vocals further improving this. The song increases in density significantly, full of saxophone and guitar, reminding me of 'Van Der Graaf Generator' in terms of instrumentation, with the heavy use of the saxophone being especially reminiscent. This song also is slightly more jam oriented, including a fairly long guitar solo, something that is fairly against the norm for the band, since they usually focus on making short, dense songs that jump between ideas. I find this a welcome change in this case, as I really think that the rock focused portion of the track really did deserve the longer period of time to flourish. The final two tracks blend into one another, bringing back the heavy use of mellotron and keeping up the building energy. These songs also still sound much more like standard prog compared to their past and future works, focusing heavily on melody rather than cramming ideas in, and make an excellent closer to the album.

Everything about this album is significantly more understated than other Gentle Giant works, relying on subtlety and nuance in each track, rather than the usual quirky experimentation that the band is known for. Even the concept of the album is wonderfully understated and humble in nature, without any majorly bombastic moments or anything of the sort. This is overall one of my favourite Gentle Giant albums, as it feels like one of the most complete works by the band, without a single note sounding out of place and with some seriously strong high points.

Best tracks: Schooldays, Peel the Paint, Three Friends

Weakest Tracks: None

Verdict: The most subtle, complete work of Gentle Giant, sacrificing the fiercely experimental and quirky nature of their first two albums in favour of some more subtle, easygoing moments, while also further solidifying the musical identity of the band.

 The Missing Piece by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.95 | 521 ratings

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The Missing Piece
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "The Missing Piece" is the ninth album of the Gentle Giant, successor of "Interview". If we compare Interview (the first song of the homonymous album) with Two Weeks in Spain, we immediately notice a great change in the music of the Gentle Giant: they have gone from progressive rock to commercial music easy listening. It is the end of the group's golden age, and the beginning of their decadence, is not it? Yes and No.

Reality is more complex. In fact, the album Interview represents the progressive rock of the GG that reels, trudges on itself and continues compulsively to try to get out of a dead end. The effort is always deserving, but there is no longer inspiration (no good melody), lightness, creative urgency; on the contrary: there is a compulsive way of repeating the same compositional schemes until they are consumed, until the patterns are all that is left of the music. From this point of view, Interview represents the decadence, the forced attempt to keep alive the corpse of the GG's progressive rock while The Missing Piece represents the attempt of rebirth of the GG according to the new musical canons of freshness, immediacy, linearity.

Are the GGs reborn? Yes, the GGs are no longer the dying progressive rock corpse of Interview that did not want to die, but a new group, which courageously seeks a new identity, and does so with merit, appreciable inspiration and goodwill. That's why according to my evaluation criteria, The Missing Piece is a better album than Interview (and even better than those of earlier years where the inspiration has failed in favor of the repetition of progressive rock patterns: Three Friends and In A Glass House).

The Missing Piece is a doble face album. First side full of brief commercial (and not high medium quality) rock (and soul) songs, second side with great songs in art-rock style mixed with progressive rock style.

"Two Weeks In Spain" is good rock and roll but too much repetitive (vote 7); "I'm Turning Around" is an atmospheric, melodic ballad, good. Very simple keyboard solo, really not in the GG style but anyway great effect on the listener for the very good melody (vote 8); "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" is speed rock and roll (near to punk rock) with repetitive chorus; the beginning works but soon the song become forced and then fade away (vote 6,5/7); "Who Do You Think You Are?" is an electric ballad with good soul cadence but that soon become too much repetitive and not developed: a missing chance (vote 5,5).

"Mountain Time" is a beautiful, funky danceable piano song, which sees for the first time in the career of GG Derek Shulman singing with the voice of black shouters, especially in the finale where the syncopated rhythm becomes percussive and gives way to the splendid singing of Derek to rise up to virtuosity (vote 7,5).

Side B open with the proggy "Old As You're Young", a medieval track sung by the angelic voice of Minnear, very good; here the fan of GG can take a breath of relief: their progressive rock is not dead, rather it is reborn. Vote 8. Memories Of Old Days is the masterpiece of Lp. Beautiful acoustic guitars (Ray played 12-strings acoustic guitar), beautiful romantic melody, evocative renaissance's sound of flute (produced by the synth?). In the song there are no percussions, no rhythm or arrangement variation: this is the difference between this track and the past masterpieces. Vote 8,5. Winning begins in a percussive way that reminds to "Runaway" (In A Glass House) and then become a good rock piece, very supported in the rhythm, with interesting percussion intermezzo. The mood of the song doesn't change from the beginning to the end: the musical chords are always the same: a refrain is missing; fortunately, in the middle of the piece comes a contrast section, although rather similar to the stanzas (vote 7,5). "For Nobody" is a proggy track, similiar to some of Free Hand or Interview. It is speed rock, very supported and in some moments then rhythm is too much forced and compulsive. No great melody but good job of the band. Vote 7.

In this album GG find inspiration and decide to change direction, taking the linearity already partly exhibited in some songs of Power & Glory and Free Hand but with more simplicity in the compositions and arrangements (I miss the violin played by Ray). On the first side, however, this linear approach joins the commercial rock and soul and produces short unpublished pieces for the GG, I would say dignified, who want to keep up with the punk and new wave. In the second part of the disc this approach leads to good results, in line with the past, but at the same time more relaxed and closer to easy listening.

Anyway, The Missing Piece is a good album, effective, which achieves the objectives that it is given. Medium quality of the songs: 7,31. Vote album: 7,5. Three stars.

 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 1828 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After a problematic disc as Three Friends, arrives Octopus, where the songs have been simplified by structure, arrangements and duration. The deflagrating guitar solos and the drums solos of the previous albums are totally missing. The dominance of Minnear is complete: instrumental variations even those hard rock are completely entrusted to his keyboards, which more often have math rock little pieces.

The violins are still present in two songs, one on each side. Knots' vocal and rhythmic interweaving is remarkable. The only piece that aspires to remember the long hard rock pieces of the past is River, where the guitar is less powerful but reaches a great rock charge, and it is then quickly goes around again to math rock, albeit with interesting interludes. The winds have an important role only in three songs, the best on the album. The album has therefore lost any symphonic orchestral connotation of the previous ones, especially the first two.

GG are arrived at a formal progressive song formally perfect, of medium length, driven by keyboards, with changes of rhythms and arrangements (violins, winds) unpredictable but overall very composed and measured, with some moments of pathos very beautiful although immediately shredded by intermezzos math rock or complicated vocal harmonies.

It is not a case that this album is the favourite of classic rock fans: it has not the typical faults of progressive rock: it is not pretentious, it does not dilate the times and the duration of the sound solutions. It is a layered album, with many complex formal solutions, but all within medium and "light" songs, which do not require particularly demanding listening (especially the first three of the second side)

The first song is excellent, the best of the album, with continuous changes of rhythm, vocal harmonies and passages from the melodic to the hard powerful rock. The second song is in the style of Funny Ways but less melodic, more rhythmic, and more unpredictable. The third song is a fairly simple rock where the keyboards alternate with the strophes sung with continuous improvisation. The fourth piece is difficult, an exercise in style for vocal harmonies and rhythm, but with remarkable instrumental passages, which in some cases reach a great pathos.

Side A: 1) The advent of Panurge 8+; 2) Raconteur, Troubadour 8; 3) A cry for everyone 7,5; 4) Knots 7,5/8:

The second side is lighter than the first: it begins with an instrumental song, good, then there is the piece more easy listening, with a very simple melody. Then arrive one of the most romantic songs of the GG, Think of Me With Kindness, which has moments of great pathos, this is a song that speaks to the heart, but when the melody become too much pathetic arrive the cerebral math rock variations of Minnear, that partially ruins the pathos. Anyway, a very romantic and delicate song. The second side in this way is very melodic but in the end arrive The River, the only track of long duration: not a particular inspirend song but with great instrumental passages, that make more heavy the final of the album.

Side B: 5) The boys in the band 7+; 6) Dog's life 7; 7) Think of me with kindness 8; 8) River 8;

Medium Quality: 7,72. Vote: 8,5. Four stars

 Giant For A Day by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.30 | 449 ratings

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Giant For A Day
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After the good " The Missing Piece", Gentle Giant lose their inspiration and they could not make progress along the new direction they have taken. In fact, GIANT FOR A DAY is the album of the definitive detachment from progressive rock, the only one where Minnear does not sing and has a clearly secondary role in the group's music, being a quite trivial guitar-oriented album.

After the nice but repetitive vocal harmonies of the opening piece (Words From the Wise, vote 7,5), follows a simple acoustic ballad, in Roger Hodgson style (Supertramp) but not very effective, sometimes inascible (Thank You, vote 5,5/6). The third song (Giant for a Day, vote 7,5/8) is at least original and introduces new sounds and new singing in the production of GG. The fourth piece is an instrumental worthy of a soundtrack of a grotesque film (Spooky Boogy, vote 7). "Take Me" is a funkpop that follows the easy listening of side A (vote 7+).

With "Little Brown Bag" (vote 7) the sound goes to the land of hard rock, but without real conviction. The GG seem beginners or retired musicians who write just to earn some extra money. The two minutes of "Friends" (written by the drummer Weathers) seem to say that the GG do not take it seriously (vote 6,5). In fact, another song comes, "No Stranger", where the group's commitment is minimal (vote 6+). Instead with "It's Only Goodbye" (vote 8), the GGs look for the epic melody, and they succeed: the most beautiful romantic and commercial melodic ballad of the group comes out. The last piece (Rock Climber, vote 7+) is a bogie rock.

Giant for a Day is a commercial album of pop and rock easy listening, with melodic interventions, which has no internal consistency but that seeks only the success of the charts but does not succeed. The GG are wasted for this type of music (and Derek Shulman does not have the right voice), and we see that they do not take it seriously as those who really breaks through the charts.

Medium quality: 7,025; Vote album: 6+; Two Stars

 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.34 | 1577 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars If I consider the score and the number of reviews here on PA, In A Glass House is the masterpiece of GG. It is the first in this ranking. Instead I think it is one of their worst albums, despite being one of the most progressive.

Side A. 1) The Runaway 8; Brilliant the initial rhythmic rock of the first song, which then rattles off in a thousand variations and in some steps of their typical math rock, which towards in the end results a bit exasperated and repetitive. 2) An Inmates Lullaby 6.5/7; The second piece, as the title suggests, it's a lullaby; an original piece compared to the previous production, all choruses and percussions; it could remember (and make to regret) Edge of Twilight or Moon is Down. 3) Way of Life 7+; Third piece of a compulsive rock, very sustained, all keyboards, with reinassance variations, which in some places almost reaches an epic inspiration that however expires in math rock.

Side B. 4) Experience 6.5; Second side (worse than the first) with the same structure: two long rock tracks interspersed with a classic bracket. It starta with a rock piece that begins undertone, continues with a medieval intermezzo and continues in a very forced way (with bad guitar solo), little inspired. 5) A reunion 6+; Follows a brief parenthesis with the strings: an anonymous piece, without a great melody, subdued; 6) In a Glass House 7+; Conclusion with the piece that gives the title to the album (the longest of the GG after Nothing at All), a folk rock characterized by the violin and the sustained rhythm, that changes continuously, and suddenly, in a completely forced way: the piece doesn't know what direction it wants to take.

There is a lot of technique and a lot of sophistication, a lot of skill, but - with the exception of the first piece - there is not much inspiration in the pieces of this album, which in fact are the ones that remain the least in mind of all the classic production of the Gentle Giant. There is in fact no masterpiece, no classic, no melodically remarkable piece. In terms of arrangements, nothing new compared to Octopus, if not the absence of the winds, which makes the music more monotonous, also because compared to Octopus has lost in clarity and conciseness, as well as in melody, to become more convolute and repetitive . It is the progressive in full of its faults. In this album there is a band without inspiration that uses all his craft to create compositions according to the crism of progressive rock: but when you compose art without a real expressive urgency, thinking only of making a pedantic execution of the canons of a genre (musical or literary ), you get a formally flawless product, perhaps exalted by some lovers of the genre, but that is completely insipid emotionally and that seems unbearably didactic for those who do not like the genre.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,00. Rating = 6.5 / 7. Two stars. Very Overrated.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1482 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first song, a masterpiece, sliding, simple in the arrangement, resumes the discourse undertaken in Octopus with Advent of Panurge (which however lack the variety of the arrangement and the volatility of the music), extending the time and adding an excellent electronic interlude. This leaves a foretaste of a great album: it will not be like that. The second song is the most difficult to perform, almost a piece of avant-garde, with odd rhythms, dissonances, choirs, counters; a huge job for the voices and the rhythm. Its complexity satisfies the intellect but makes physical pleasure of listening difficult. The third piece is a slow, romantic, sung with the delicious and suffused voice of Minnear, far too monotonous in structure and music: it does not come close to Think of me with Kindness of Octopus: the pathos and the crescendo are missing. So far we have heard three extreme songs in the arrangements, very different from each other. The fourth song, which has an intermezzo for a time not medieval but only slow, has a pleasant and smooth progress but it seems that the GG have settled down to reproduce the same rhythm from slow going up to exasperation without asking themselves any development and variation.

1) Proclamation 8,5; 2) So sincere 7,5; 3) Aspirations 7+; 4) Playing the game 7+;

The second side opens with a whimsical song, fast at the edge of the paroxysm, almost hard but for the rhythm and the electronic keyboards, not for the guitar that in the whole album is in the background. No God's a Man resumes the bland pace of Playing the Game, but it is anything but smooth, a continuous go stop start again, with continuous variations that are wrapped around themselves giving the impression of not knowing where to go: less successful piece. In an album where there is not a slow song with strings, comes The Face, a sort of interesting rock (that resembles Proclamation) as forced and compulsive at the end that sounds asphyxiating: its best is where the violin it plays a dissonant music, then giving way to the guitar, for the best instrumental moment of the album. Valedictory takes up the initial theme, making it even more electronic and paroxysmal, and proceeds in a crescendo screamed at the limits of the voice of Shulman up to curl up on itself. Second side with three songs out of four with highly anxiety-inducing, almost frantic, which makes the side hard to hear.

5) Cogs in cogs 7,5; 6) No God's a man 6+; 7) The Face 7+; 8) Valedictory 7,5;

Medium quality: 7,375. Vote: 7,5/8.

Overall it is a more than discreet album, which abandons the long, convoluted and pretentious songs of Glass House to chase a smooth and (quite) simplified sound; presents an initial isolated peak, and which continues based on already tested instrumental numbers, alternates slow pieces to other frenzied or dissonant: in the first side we find more varied atmospheres, in the second side songs too screamed and frantic, and the frame, the beginning and closing, touch an electronic hard rock.

Three stars.

Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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