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Gentle Giant - Three Friends CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 1120 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Gentle Giant - Three Friends (1972)

Another highlight of the progressive genre: Three Friends. After the very experimental Acquiring the Taste yet another highly impressive and renewing album. This might make it seem like both albums are a bit the same, but actually I couldn't mention one song that sounds even a bit like another song of these two albums. After listening a lot to Gentle Giant for years Three Friends became one of my favourite among the big GG8. Furthermore it's nice to know this a concept album about three friends their lives. It's not a cohesive album, but cohesiveness would have disturbed the innovative spirit of the band, so I think it's great. I'll do a song-by-song review this time.

Prologue. This song is hard to describe. The warm opening synthesizer parts in a strange time signature sound like something I've never heard in another song. The first evolves in a progressive track with an non-logical atmosphere before the magical vocal parts begin. The vocal parts with the great keyparts around them are very progressive and interesting. Emotional it's quite strong too.

Schooldays is totally different. It's a quiet track. The vibraphone-clean electric guitar combination plays a central role in the main themes. The harmonic vocals in strange signatures are mature and give the song a very special tension. The symphonic moment in the middle of the track with piano, mellotron and very intelligent vocals is an outburst that works very good. Emotionally a bit confusing, yet still a soothing track.

Working All Day. This track has as main ingredient jazz chords and a fine wind section. The vocal themes are a bit bold and the solo parts also aren't among the most interesting. This makes the track the lesser track of the album. Still acceptable though.

Peel the Paint. Very intelligent compositions played with a lot of style and power. The quiet part in the beginning introduces the main theme and changes into classic violin parts. Then suddenly the heavy bass/guitar/wind riff starts. This might just be the heaviest track Gentle Giant ever recorded, and I love it! The vocals are powerful. In the middle section we get to listen to the extended guitar solo with Gary Green using delay paddles, the other band members are silent during this experiment. One of the stronger Gentle Giant tracks!

Then came the perfect combo of tracks. Mister Class and Quality and the final Three Friends are among my favourite tracks ever. The first one starts with the main theme played quiet and chaotic and thus it seems meaningless. Repeated listens will make you discover the genius of this rework of the main theme of the track that is yet to come. The catchy vocals on the Couplet with the great timed riff between the couplet parts are great. Some instrumental parts part the couplet and in couplet two the riff is changed in a more chaotic riff whilst the vocal stay the same. Amazing! This always gets me excited. After further compositional treats we get launched into the title track.

Three Friends is Gentle Giants main symphonic bombastic moment! Such great symphonic sounds and harmonic vocals with a main theme that has such length it's actually hard to say when the repeating moment is! Great composition again! The conclusive vibe of the last track gives a satisfied feeling when the record stops.

Conclusion. On of my favourite Gentle Giant albums. There's just so much! All tracks except Working all Day are highly exceptional and truly progressive/inventive. This is what the genre is about. I'll give a five star award for this one. Essential for every-one on this site.

friso | 5/5 |


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