Gentle Giant – In A Glass House (1973/2009)

Gentle Giant - In A Glass House (1973/2009)
Artist: Gentle Giant
Album: In A Glass House
Genre: Eclectic Prog
Label: Alucard
Year Of Release: 1973/2009
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

01. The Runaway (7:24)
02. An Inmates Lullaby (4:31)
03. Way Of Life (7:53)
04. Experience (7:50)
05. A Reunion (2:11)
06. In A Glass House (8:08)


– Gary Green / guitars
– Kerry Minnear / keyboards, cello, vocals
– Derek Shulman / vocals, saxes
– Ray Shulman / bass, violin, vocals
– John Weathers / drums, percussion, vocals

In A Glass House is Gentle Giant’s fifth studio album and the first without founding member Phil Shulman.

Hard to say how much of the change can be attributed to Phil Shulman’s departure from the band, but In A Glass House is quite a drop in level compared to last year’s Octopus which is the finest album of Gentle Giant’s career. It seems that, with keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Kerry Minnear and vocalist/player Derek Shulman left in charge of composing on this album, they’ve been a bit lost without Shulman. The technique is there, but the content is a bit lacki

The album begins with the rhythmic sounds of breaking glass. Not the most soulful beginning and there is something very evocative of the whole album in that coldly clever, but relatively insignificant section. Like that intro, which must have taken a huge amount of effort to make using 1973 technology, the music on the album is generally technically impeccable and really complex throughout, but where is the warmth and heart of the earlier albums? In a Glass House is, as its name suggests, a chilling experience. The listener stands in the middle of a modern palace built of technically brilliant glass, but can’t find a single corner of it where he feels truly comfortable. The impression is accentuated by the poorer sound than on previous albums. Especially the drums sound quite clumsy on this album.

The instrumentation on In A Glass House is still very varied compared to any standard rock band, but compared to Gentle Giant’s previous albums, the sound is more electronic and you don’t hear as many different acoustic instruments (Phil Shulman brought a lot of skill with wind instruments) as before. In A Glass House started a trend that unfortunately continued on the band’s subsequent albums.

However, despite all the negative criticism above, In A Glass House also has many enjoyable moments. The first example that comes to mind is Minnear’s virtuoso marimba solo on the album opener ’Runaways’. It is certainly one of the most dazzling individual performances in Gentle Giant’s repertoire. Played entirely on percussion instruments, ”An Inmate’s Lullaby” is also an interesting experiment that works quite nicely musically. The most beautiful and soulful moment of the album is probably the quiet, only a couple of minutes long, ”A Reunion” where the acoustic instruments I’ve been longing for, including Minnear’s cello, finally get more space.

The album was never officially released in the USA. Gentle Giant’s American label rejected the album. Surprisingly, however, the album sold over 150,000 copies as an import, making it Gentle Giant’s most successful release to date. When the official release finally came, the album slipped to number 78. The band’s future could have looked much brighter if In A Glass House had received an official release and with those 150,000 sales climbed higher up the charts, while gaining attention and a boost in sales. But no. Gentle Giant remained a cult band and perpetual warm-up band for years to come.

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