(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
One of the finest examples of British Art-rock at its best, Octopus, consensously amongst almost every Gentle Giant fan, is their "Magnum Opus" (but my second favorite). Its hard to dispel that notion, as for this album is as perfect as it gets, wonderful lead vocals by Derek on the harder songs, Kerry on the softer ballads and the band kicking in their usual vocal histrionics, that would put bands like 10cc and Queen to shame.
The album kicks off with "The Advent Of Panurge", as Kerry starts off singing, but Derek finishes off the piece as the band rocks on. The madrigal "Raconteur Troubadour" dates its self to medieval times and it is one of the songs that has the eldest Shulman, Phillip, shining on Trumpet. "A Cry For Everyone", is a quirky number that shows off guitarist Gary's riffs.
And one of Gentle Giant most difficult, and one of their most influential, the multi vocaled "Knots", is as bizarre as it gets, and that's just the vocals. Great song. Instrumental "Boys in The Band" crops up, allowing Derek and Phillip to play their saxaphones along with the band. The Phillip (or Kerry, or maybe Ray) sung "Dog Life", is one of the simpler tunes on the album.
My two favorite songs on this great album close off the album, first is the Kerry sung ballad, "Think Of Me Kindness", which send chills down my spine every time I listen to it, but with the album finale, "River" does it for me.
Octopus signifies the beginning and the ending of two major players in Gentle Giant's history, as older brother Phillip, tired of the touring scene, left the band to go back his first love of teaching music, and it harkend the first time Drum/percussion virtuoso John Weather played with the band.
Album Rating: Five Stars.