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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.29 | 1844 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I was initially confident in my 3-star rating of this album, but I have to admit that I simply wasn't doing it justice. The creative energy and general irreverence for traditional (generic) popular music on Octopus is refreshing and worthy of respect. Octopus is not consistently great, but it certainly contains enough highlights to merit a 4-star rating in my book.

The Advent of Panurge, A Cry for Everyone, The Boys in the Band, River. These four are the musical equivalent of crack, and they all rock. Why is that? It's because the Giant manage to cram an absolutely incredible amount of variability (instrumentation, time signatures, melodies, etc) into such a short space. If you like concise, constantly shifting music, you can't get much better than this. Prog rock for those with attention deficit disorder, if you like! I have to respect the creativity, songwriting and musicianship, and I also flat-out love the music, because it is undeniably good. There's plenty to be found, from the herky-jerky groove of The Advent of Panurge, to the heavy breakdown that is A Cry for Everyone, to the varitable free-for-all that is The Boys in the Band, to the spacey, guitar-driven River. This is the Giant that I love.

Raconteur Troubadour, Knots, Dog's Life, Think of Me with Kindness. This is the Giant that initially turned me off. Here we have a medieval, folksy track, a brilliantly complicated mess (not necessarily in a bad way though!), a relatively worthless ditty, and a quite listenable ballad, respectively. It's all very creative and diverse, and ultimately quite enjoyable.

Special mention must be made for Knots, as it literally took over 50 listens before I liked it. Most great prog will catch my ear the first time and keep bringing me back, but Knots was certainly a grower for me. Now I love it and often have to laugh in appreciation of the sheer creativity and bombast.

I have to admit that I was properly warned from the ProgArchives experts, and now you have been too! When Gentle Giant set to rocking out, their style is tough to beat and impossible to imitate. When they focus more on being creative and playful, I sometimes lose interest. Overall, Octopus has something to offer nearly every progressive rock fan, although it's so varied that it's tough to be equally enthused about each song.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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