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Gentle Giant - The Missing Piece CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

2.95 | 521 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars It came, really, as no surprise that I would find this album strangely rewarding. I find that in the autumn of my youth have come to appreciate the odder albums in my favorite bands catalogues more than ever before, sometimes to the expense of albums I previously hailed as masterpieces. When I came across Black Sabbath's Never say die I found it lacklustre and strange, boring and uninspired. So much, in fact, that I never seemed to get to the end of the bloody thing. Nowadays I rate it extremely high and find it to be an excellent album, bolstering angst, fury and skillful musicianship dressed in slicker form than on any previous album.

So, reading about The missing piece I was intrigued and curious. I find that GG:s debut is amongst the finest prog-albums ever made, in it's quirky british conglomerate of sounds and textures. This album gets some praise, some flak and some lukewarm reviews. I had to listen to it, discover it and form my own opinion.

Actually I find that half of the album works very well, while the other half is so-and-so. Firstly I'd like to say something of the musical direction displayed on here. It is true that it is more accessible than before, almost pop in some places. But what does that mean? Pop? "You mean pop as in "Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep" by Middle of the road?" No way, (wo)man! The thing is that I find the album to be a blend of art-pop, prog and rock. It is in places similar to Supertramp, like in Mountain time with it's hammering of the piano.

The best tracks are those where the trademarks of GG is still evident, like in the magnificent pop-prog of "As old as you're young". The vocals of Mr. Derek Shulman is as recognisable as ever and the keyboards is GG at their finest, really. The complexity of the past is there. The music can't be, and now I am talking about the album in general, classified as easy listening. Though accessible it retains the characteristica of the band, which basically is the enormous musical skills they possess.

"Memories of old days" is the longest track and in some ways the one that really lets the prog flag fly high. A great song in it's own right that in the presence of the other more pop-oriented tracks stand out like a boot in your gravy. I really love the atmospheres and skillful melody of the whole thing.

Other tracks worth mentioning is "Two weeks in Spain" and "For nobody". The tracks not mentioned aren't really bad, it is after all GG we're talking about. They aren't even fillers, just not up to my liking.

So, what is the conclusion then? The missing piece is an enjoyable album with plenty going for it. The album is not the disaster one sometimes could be lead to believe. I would, however, not recommend to someone eager to investigate GG:s catalogue. Still, if you are acquainted, to take a listen. I think you'll find something to love, something to like and probably one or two track to dislike. The result will though, I think, be a listening experience more enjoyable than unpleasant.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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