Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Album of the Day

Octopus, by Gentle Giant (1973):When it comes to the “what is progressive rock?” discussions online, someone inevitably applies the term “epic” as a description. Certainly, it’s true that a large hunk of what is universally recognized as prog fits that mold (think Yes, ELP, and Genesis with their side-long suites). But for every rule there is an exception and when it comes to prog and the epic, Gentle Giant is it.

Octopus is a perfect example. Eight tracks, only one of which drifts past five minutes. In terms of length, they fit squarely in the pop/rock ideal. But that’s about all they conform to. Neither the Renaissance-era feel of “Raconteur Troubadour” nor the insane complexity of “Knots” (you should hear it live!) will leave you wondering why the prog label applies to Gentle Giant. But, as if to break another rule, the band shows the ability to strip away the complexities on the beautiful “Think of Me With Kindness.”

Epic in scope, perhaps, if not in size, is a good way to think of Gentle Giant.

1 comment:

unsilentmajority said...

As a prog-toligist, I shall search out your suggestion.