(U.K. cover)

(U.S. cover)
Band: Gentle Giant
Album: Octopus
Best song: “A Cry for Everyone” is awesome.
Worst song: “The Boys In The Band” is mostly nonsense.

As previously mentioned elsewhere, I went throught a mini progressive rock period in my life. It was about a year long and I continue to hold a candle for the type of bands Roger Dean probably enjoys (he certainly works for them).

I’m no connoisseur; I’ve always simply skimmed prog rock for the bands that had influenced my favorite bands. Pink Floyd remains my favorite prog band and there’s no real agreement about music people whether Floyd’s work is really all that proggy. But, I do love and continue to listen to albums by Yes, Genesis, Rush and King Crimson.

Gentle Giant is considered one of the more influential and skilled progressive rock bands of the 1970s. Where Crimson’s records are insane, dreamy and not tied to a particular national sound, Gentle Giant is a decidedly English band, with minstrel-esque strings and layered harmonies dotting the record.

The record is the band’s hardest, with some interesting synth lines and some hard(ish) guitar riffs. John Weathers’ drumming is not the star of the show — Neil Peart seems to be the only one who did this in a 70s prog band — but keeps excellent time. DErek Shulman’s voice is clear and clean, with little in the way of embellishment. Again, classically trained musicians can pull off some excellent prog.

Lyrically, the album is pretentious, as is the progressive rock way. Evoking Camus, the album incluces lyrics such as “Everyone dies if only to justify life.” Rush it is not.

“Knots” is bizarre and circus-sounding at the onset, with full band dropping in and out of the record. Based on a book by Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, the song is a mindfuck.

I bought Octopus largely on a whim. It’s a difficult thing to justify; I mostly just wanted to grow my prog collection and add a band I’d not heard enough. I’m glad I did. Every time I pick it up, I enjoy it.

This entry was posted in Gentle Giant. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment