Gentle Giant – S/T Review (Tidied Up From Its Origional 2007 State)

Gentle Giant – S/T

Gentle Giant – S/T

Gentle Giant’s self-titled debut studio album was released in late 1970. In my opinion it is an incredible record and one that I would enthusiastically recommend to any fan of Progressive Rock music and which I would definitely label as a ‘must own’ for existing Gentle Giant fans.

All things considered this is an album and a half, almost ahead of its time. The record features superb production considering its age, powerful drumming from Martin Smith, interesting lyrics and of course fantastic music that is creative, complex and incredibly varied. Things can range from powerful to soft to quirky and from concise to complex, often changing at the drop of a hat.

Every musician is a master of their instrument, or several instruments in fact. Phil, Kerry and Garry are all amazing adding flute, tuned percussion and cello to the fray in addition to their main instruments, and then you have the Shulman brothers mixture of strings, brass and rock instruments on top of that.

The sax on this album from Phil Shulman is a nice addition that adds a swing to the proceedings. The bass from Ray Shulman can range from the funky to powerful to subtle where necessary. Derek Shulman’s wonderful singing really makes the band gel with his soulful screaming, soft melodic whispers and hearty baritone croon.

Highlights include the bombastic Title Track as well as the catchy ‘Why Not?’ and the amazing ‘Funny Ways,’ which almost deserves your money by itself. Its a superb song featuring beautiful vocals, a haunting string section, horns and an evocative simple little guitar chord section that ties the whole thing together.

All in all, this is an amazing collective of varied and talented musicians (or multi-instrumentalists) who have put together a fantastically well-flowing mixture of disparate musical styles and then delivered it in a virtuosic yet accessible manner. This is a perfect addition to any cd collection (prog or otherwise) and you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.

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