Gentle Giant

In a Glass House

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Gentle Giant was reduced to a quintet on In a Glass House with the departure of elder brother Phil Shulman, but its sound is unchanged, and the group may actually be tighter without the presence of his saxophones. The time signatures are still really strange, and the tempo changes are sometimes jarring, as is the wide range of dynamics, but this is also one of the group's most pleasing records -- they rock out in various places, and elsewhere perform all kinds of little experiments with percussion instruments ("An Inmate's Lullaby"), or create a strange, otherworldly sort of modern medieval-style music ("Way of Life"). None of it except possibly "A Reunion" is light listening, but the challenge does yield some rewarding sounds.

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