Monday, October 30, 2006
Gentle Giant - Octopus
I'm going to let you in on a little secret about the Solid Little Rock Jams review blog, and that is that we just kind of review whatever we feel like reviewing, or whatever we happen to be listening to at a certain point. This blog is not meant to provide comprehensive overviews of artists' entire catalogues, nor is it meant to keep track of recent music. No, this is a BLOG, and when you have a blog, you just sort of chronicle your day to day life, and jot down whatever thoughts happen to be swarming around in your noggin on any given day.
That's why the majority of my reviews will be positive and full of hardcore deep dicking. I review what I happen to be listening to, and let me tell you, a good 85% of the albums that I listen to are ones that I enjoy immensely. I, for one, prefer not to waste my time with albums that I do not enjoy listening to. Too often, I will encounter an album that does not necessarily please me to no end. These albums can suck my dick, and I will demand that they do so when I review them negatively.
All that said, this album kicks ass. I heard it for the first time last Thursday, and since then, I have listened to very little else. Have you ever heard of Gentle Giant? Maybe you haven't! See, 70s prog-rock spawned several extremely successful mega-superstar-bands, and I'm sure you've heard of all of them. Genesis, Jethro Tull, ELP, Yes, Rush, all that shit. Then there's King Crimson, who was never as successful as the previously mentioned bands, but still maintains a hardcore following of dorky, glasses-wearing males TO THIS DAY.
Gentle Giant, on the other hand, had trouble getting their albums released in America way back when, so they were never particularly successful over here in the USA. Maybe they were big in the UK. I honestly have no idea. Point is that even after 35 years or something, they remain relatively obscure, beknownst only to the most hardcore prog fans (or me, or any number of people who aren't necessarily "hardcore prog fans.")
This is simply a crime against humanity. It's not like this stuff is hard to listen to at all. Octopus is accessible as shit! This is pop music, goddamnit. Of course, it's extremely unconventional, idiosyncratic pop music. After all, this is generally classified as "prog-rock," despite the fact that only one of these eight songs stretches past the five-minute mark. All five guys in this band play about fifty different instruments, and all 250 of these instruments are featured on this album. These fellas are all quite obviously "classically trained," and you can tell by listening to these songs, a couple of which contain multiple vocal parts that are complex to the point of resembling crazy Bach-style counterpoint.
That's another cool thing about this album. Unlike Keith Emerson, Gentle Giant does not use its love of classical music as an excuse to shred and be shitty. These brosephs actually manage to combine classical music with rock (as well as folk, jazz, etc.) in ways that actually benefit their songs, and make them so flippin' INTERESTING to listen to. These songs are simply overflowing with awesome, somewhat-medieval melodies and totally kickass rhythm/time signature fuckage, as well as some occasional bursts of keyboard shredding for good measure.
In conclusion, please enjoy this picture of Gentle Giant drummer John Weathers.
Rating: Really, really high! I can't stop listening to this album. I just constantly feel the need to go back and experience the vast number of good ideas contained on this excellent piece of albumry. This shit is just so bizarre and exciting! You'll love it!
Song: "The Advent of Panurge"...this is the first song on the album! It's awesome! Shit!