Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant

While their music would grow in sophistication over their first few albums, the 1970 debut by this British band is a stunningly crafted crop of tunes. From the start, GG blended classical influences, Renaissance madrigals, folk, hard rock, and avant-garde experimentalism. They introduce themselves to the world on "Giant," shifting between knotty, angular riffs and grandly sweeping sonic surges. The acoustic-based "Funny Ways" starts as a more conventionally melodic tune, evocative of early Genesis' folkier moments, before Gary Green's guitar starts kicking up a fuss. "Alucard" spins strange, sophisticated vocal harmonies around a storming, stomping guitar/synth riff, while "Nothing at All" goes from quiet, contemplative balladry to blistering rock before an effects-laden drum solo shifts things to avant-jazz territory. By the time their wry rock version of "God Save the Queen" ends the album, Gentle Giant has turned your ears in dozens of directions over just seven tracks.

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