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Gentle Giant - Interview CD (album) cover

INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 689 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 58

Gentle Giant was a British progressive rock group formed in 1970 and that has remained in action until 1980. The group was considered as one of the most experimental bands of the 70's and one of the bands that most contributed to the evolution of the progressive rock music. The band was known for their diverse musical influences, the varied musical skills of the band's members and also because the band's members were multi- instrumentalists. Another main feature of the band was their multiple and synchronized vocal work, which was very unusual at the time.

"Interview" is the eighth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1976. Some regards it as the Gentle Giant's last great studio album, while others claim that it was the band's first album in their downward spiral toward the late 70's. It's definitely weaker than "Free Hand" is, but the first class progressive rock in the typical Gentle Giant vein can still be found here. It's a conceptual album centring on a fictitious radio interview based upon the music business. Some tracks have brief sections of diverse interviews made in studio, and even the title song has lyrics based on questions and answers between the band and the music press. Of all the Gentle Giant's albums, the sound of it is the most similar to their preceding seventh studio album, "Free Hand" released in the year before, 1975. However, this new musical work isn't as good and strong as are their previous works. However, we even can find even on their next ninth studio album "The Missing Piece" released in 1977, some very interesting musical moments too, I think.

So, because "Interview" represents really the last great Gentle Giant's studio album, it's now time to write some lines about one of the band's members, the keyboardist of the group Kerry Minnear. He is, for me, one of the greatest keyboardists of the 70's and one of the pillars of the group. He also was one of the main composers of the band and, after the departure of Phil Shulman, his musical influence in the band's music became even more evident, particularly the major influence of the medieval and renaissance music in the group. Like the similarities between Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator, reported by me when I reviewed "Free Hand", I can also see some similitude between Minnear and Hugh Banton, the keyboardist of Van Der Graaf Generator. It's true that the contribution of Banton, in terms of composition, was very small due the dominance of Peter Hammill, but his musical influence on the band is clear and central into their sound. So, I sincerely think that Minnear and Banton deserve a heartfelt tribute for what all they did in the progressive rock music. Without them, the sound of these two bands would never have been the same.

"Interview" has seven tracks. The first track "Interview" is the title track song. It's a very experimental track and represents an excellent song. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. The second track "Give It Back" is a song a little bit bizarre with a melody sometimes close to the reggae music. Sincerely, this is the album's music that I like less. The third track "Design" is a song with their typical and truly amazing vocal style of renaissance and cappella music. This is also a very experimental song. The fourth track "Another Show" is, for me, one of the best and most spectacular songs recorded on this album. It has also a great keyboard working. It's another fantastic song on the album. The fifth track "Empty City" is a song with great acoustic and electric guitar working and it's also very well accompanied by a very strong vocal working. It's a piece of music that changes very often and it's also a very calm song. The sixth track "Timing" is the most popish song on the album. It's very well composed with good instrumental work, but it isn't one of my favourite songs on the album. The seventh track "I Lost My Head" is another song with some medieval influences. It's sung by Minnear and represents a truly final classic Gentle Giant's composition. This is also one of my favourite tracks on "Interview". This is a great final song to close this very interesting album.

Conclusion: As I wrote before, some may think that "Interview" is a minor musical work in the band's career. I don't agree with that point of view. It's true that this album isn't as good as their entire previous studio albums are. But however and despite being a little more experimental than "Free Hand" is, "Interview" has all the ingredients of the Gentle Giant's music and contains also some of the most aggressive and electrified music ever composed by them. With some modesty, I think I know perfectly well what I'm talking about, because I have the vinyl versions of the two albums, since the 70's, when I bought both albums. The main problem with the album is that it's less commercial and less balanced than "Free Hand" is which it would become perhaps fatal for their future musical career. As a final conclusion, we can say that the Gentle Giant's legacy to the progressive music, began with their eponymous debut album and ended with this. During this very short period of time, we may say sincerely, that they were really Giants.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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