With its soulful singing and rocking choruses, Free Hand has the perfect formula that allow Gentle Giant to deliver the whole package… what enthusiastic new prog fans would call “mind-bending craziness” juxtaposed with sublime hard rock power.
The album contains several highlights including the famous ‘On Reflection,’ which has some knotted vocals and tuned percussion and could easily be described as a masterpiece of melody and counterpoint, as well as the furiously catchy title-track ‘Free Hand,’ which is practically worth the price of the disc on its own.
Most songs here are 5 minutes long or over; and the album is definitely a “grower” that becomes better with each repeat listen. When judged against the rest of the band’s work it holds up very well and is probably most similar to the band’s ‘In A Glass House,’ and ‘Interview’ albums stylistically, but also notable for its superior production values.
Overall, Free Hand is a very interesting and enjoyable album that really gives off that ‘must-have’ air. If you like Progressive Rock in general then it is definitely worth picking up a copy, and if you like Gentle Giant themselves then it’d be a shame not to buy this wonderful album. If you like any of their other work then you’ll love this as well.