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tore 03-28-2011 03:20 AM

Gentle Giant - Free Hand (1975)
Hey there!

This is the discussion thread for Gentle Giant's 7th studio album Free Hand. The album was homework in the Prog & Fusion Album Club in March 2011, but anyone can join in the discussion.

Here's a quick description of the album :


Originally Posted by tore
Gentle Giant - Free Hand (1975)

Although popular on musicbanter and in prog communities in general, some here may not know Gentle Giant. They were an extremely talented prog band from England largely made up by multi-instrumentalists whose collective musical style and compositions were creative and unique. They were perhaps just a bit too strange to ever quite tap into the mainstream like contemporaries Yes or ELP, but their influence within the prog scene is significant and far reaching both in time and space, making them a must-know for anyone who's serious about exploring prog rock.

The general consensus is that the bands first 7 studio albums are all gems of the prog genre. Free Hand from 1975 is the last in this line and is generally very well liked by fans. Like the other albums, it features some hard rock flavours, medieval influences, a capellas and more, often within a single track. However, I consider Free Hand to be slightly easier to get into compared to many of their earlier albums (except perhaps their 1970 debut) and it's also one of my favourite GG albums. I figure it's as good an entry point into this super-interesting band as any. Highly recommended!

So, whatcha think? :)

tore 03-28-2011 03:35 AM

I gave this a very good .. but now I'm thinking I should've gone for Brilliant :p: Why didn't I? Hm.

Anyways, I love this album. There isn't a song on this album which isn't great. As a Gentle Giant album, it rocks out perhaps slightly more than previous offerings, but their great audible enthusiasm on Free Hand just sucks me in. Still, to accuse this of being less proggier doesn't make sense to me. It's still Gentle Giant. It's still got more hooks than Hellraiser and more twists than a bucket of hagfish.

My favourites are the 5 first tracks. Not bad considering there's 7 tracks total. My secondmost favourite has changed a bit over time from Just the Same to Free Hand, but now I believe it is Time to Kill. The coolest track, though, and indeed one which I consider to be one of Gentle Giant's finest songs ever, is On Reflection. Like knots from Octopus, it has some amazing A Capella which is really such a Gentle Giant staple. But Whereas Knots mostly worked as some kind of awesome experimentation, On Reflection just works on more levels. It's A Capella, but it's also a beautiful ballad and before the end, it amps up with a little rocky outro. As a song to showcase Gentle Giant, it's perfect in that it contains elements of just about everything I love about them.

So, this is indeed a brilliant for me :) Soon as I change the poll at least.

Ska Lagos Jew Sun Ra 03-28-2011 04:33 AM

I really really liked it, but feel I need to give it one more thorough listen. My entry point into Gentle Giant which I've never got the chance to fully explore. Really top shelf stuff.

TockTockTock 03-28-2011 05:09 AM

I voted 'good.' I wasn't exactly enamored by it, but I certainly enjoyed the album as a whole. I also felt that the album had a much folkier sound to it than Gentle Giant's other albums. This was shown by songs, such as "Talybont" (which had a more medieval sound to it) and "On Reflection" which was my favorite track and that, like tore said, is an A Capella song. Although, it did towards the end use a few instruments like the flute, violin, and xylophone(?). I also thought that "Mobile" was an interesting song as well. It had that classic prog organ that we all know and love, but it also had a sort of Irish feel to it with the use of the violin.

Howard the Duck 03-28-2011 07:06 AM

"good" here also

much prefer the debut. "Acquiring the Taste" or "Octopus" (my fave).....

Dean Watson 03-28-2011 09:26 AM

Hey I'm new here, but I have to say this was one seriously infuential album during my teen years. Even to this day it remains a classic and I still play it quite often. I like it perhaps just slightly less than The Power And The Glory - but nonetheless, I voted "brilliant" anyway.

tore 03-28-2011 11:15 AM

I am of the firm belief that if you really like any other Gentle Giant album and don't think this one compares well, then it's just because you haven't given it enough listens :p:

TockTockTock 03-28-2011 03:36 PM


Originally Posted by tore (Post 1026101)
I am of the firm belief that if you really like any other Gentle Giant album and don't think this one compares well, then it's just because you haven't given it enough listens :p:

I've listened to it several times (as well as a good bit of Gentle Giant's other albums). Technicality-wise, it definitely holds its own with their other great albums, but enjoyability-wise it doesn't (at least in my opinion). I'm with Il Duce on this one. I enjoyed Acquiring the Taste and Octopus much more, but that doesn't mean I didn't like this album.

Ska Lagos Jew Sun Ra 03-28-2011 11:19 PM

Listening to it the second time, and enjoy it throughly. Probably one of the strongest opener songs I've heard on any album. Just a very strong album through and through. I also really like how the songs flow from song to song in one solid motion.

Edit: Or the first two songs for that matter... Still, fantastic little intricacies in these songs. One part that even sounds like they took a break playing, and picked up the Atari for a round. A ton of neat little things to be found in the cavalcade of melodies thrown at you.

tore 03-29-2011 02:55 AM

Another cool thing about Gentle Giant is how well they played their stuff live :D

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