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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 1447 ratings

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4 stars For their first album, Gentle Giant wanted to establish the fact that this was going to be a different kind of band, nothing like the band that they grew out of the ashes from, Simon Dupree and The Big Sound. The sound on this album is a world apart from that band, however, it was not exactly the sound that they would eventually acquire (pun intended). It is very true that you can hear a lot of what they would soon become, but this album is no "Free Hand" or even "Acquiring the Taste" for that matter. This one is based quite a bit more upon the blues-based rock that was prevalent at the time than most of their albums, but with a lot of the progressive sound they would call their own.

This is mostly apparent in the first track "Giant". In fact, you can almost say this sound more like one of their more mature tracks, complex with odd time signatures and cool non-traditional harmonies. The following track "Funny Ways" is a bit more typical, but still a bit "left-of-center", however it doesn't quite stand out and actually gets a bit lost between the album opener and the following track "Alucard". Featuring some really nice keyboard work, it emphasizes the instrumental prowess of the band, however, there are still vocals. This one, like the first, is more on the progressive side of things, but does rely more on the rock-centered side of things.

Side two tends to drift away from the progressive sound and centers even more on the blues-oriented rock, yet it is still full of originality that would become the band's signature sound. The Beatlesque "Isn't It Quiet and Cold?" starts things off and is followed by the lengthiest track on the album "Nothing at All". This one teeters between folk and rock quite comfortably and even hints around at progressive stylings. Even with this progressive feel though, it still lacks a bit at the GG signature sound that would come later. Still, it's a good track worth the price of the album. The album gets rounded off with "Why Not?" which is a fun rock track that shows a less serious side to the band and then everything gets closed off by "The Queen" which is a short instrumental with the band interpreting "God Save the Queen".

Two things work against this album: the weak ending and the not-so-great production. The original copy of the album seems to be lacking in quality in the sound, not in the performance. This can be forgiven because it was the band's first album and they were also experimenting with their overall sound and place in the overall rock picture. Fortunately, it won't take long for the band to find their sound and their place, but at least with this album, we still end up with something that is worth while when it comes to progressive rock. It's pretty good and all, but it's not as good as it will get.

TCat | 4/5 |


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