Gentle Giant – Three Friends Review (Tidied Up From Its Origional 2007 State)

Posted: April 10, 2012 by kingcrimsonprog in Prog, Prog Studio

Gentle Giant - Three Friends

Gentle Giant - Three Friends

Gentle Giant are an excellent British Progressive Band and Three Friends was their third full-length studio album, which saw a few “firsts” for the band. Released in 1972, the album was the first to be self produced by the band, was their first concept album and was also both the first and last Gentle Giant album to feature drummer Malcolm Mortimore, who is sometimes regarded as being Gentle Giant’s worst drummer.

Furthermore, the album is also notable for being released with an almost identical artwork job as their debut, although an original cover was available in certain editions.

Regardless on your opinions on the artwork and arguably even drumming, this album is fantastic. The production isn’t just as good as on some of their better-produced records like Free Hand or Octopus, but isn’t poor enough to warrant a real problem either. What keeps the album afloat in terms of quality is the songwriting; which, while not just as progressive as some of the band’s more famous albums, is no less brilliant.

The sax-laden ‘Working All Day’ covers ground that the band never covered before, ‘Peel The Paint’ bursts out from quiet beginnings into a furious and energetic Hendrix-esque guitar solo and hard rocking yet soulful closer ‘Mister Class And Quality/Three Friends’ is immensely catchy.

The story details three childhood friends grow apart over time and as adults become separated by the social class system. As concept albums go, it’s not the most complex story out there but it is succinct, doesn’t mess around and is therefore arguably more effective for its brevity.

Overall; Musically the whole album is fantastic, with an eclectic mix of prog complexity, hard rock attitude, and occasional contemplative simplicity, this album doesn’t disappoint for a single second. It may not be the band’s best produced album but it certainly deserves a place in your collection regardless. If you like Gentle Giant but don’t yet own a copy of this album then I would whole-heartedly recommend that you check it out, you probably wont regret it.

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