GENTLE GIANT – GENTLE GIANT (1970)
Album Review from AlohaPopRock-AlohaCriticon
This is the first album of the British progressive rock band Gentle Giant. Produced by Tony Visconti, it offers a mixture of hard rock, jazz, blues rock and medieval sounds through a brilliant instrument interaction. Outstanding elements in the whole album are Phil Shulman’s sax, Gary Green’s guitar and Kerry Minnear keyboards.
Different sound passages with complex structures, style heterogeneity, tempo variations, original arrangements and a noticeable sensibility concerning melody are the basic characteristics of one of the most significant themes of the album, Nothing At All. A song with excellent vocal harmonies, mixture between acoustic and electric passages, a long drum solo, melancholic lyrics about solitude and lost love.
They combine the energy of rock with the epic tone in Giant or put together a pugnacious blues rock with fine medieval sounds in Why Not?
Gentle Giant portray vampire’s sceneries in the great Alucard, a piece that achieves in a skillful way a gothic atmosphere, and compose peaceful pieces of a great melodic value like the outstanding Funny Wars or Isn’t it Quite and Cold? This song influenced by the Beatles and characterized by Ray Shulman’s violin, Claire Deniz’s cello and Phil’s sweet vocals ( just like in Funny Ways) in contrast with his brother Derek’s aggressiveness. The song evokes sounds of old music-hall.
The short instrumental The Queen is a mocking version of God Save The Queen and the inconsequential end of this great debut album that has the beautiful artwork of George Underwood, a collaborator of David Bowie in the beginning.