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Gentle Giant - Interview CD (album) cover

INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 517 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
4 stars This album is as complex and uncompromising as the albums preceding it. But it isn't quite as good as those. To my ears this is the point where their particular complex and quirky style was loosing its steam. They were running out of ideas, and the following albums were attempts to try new things, to freshen up the bands sound and style.

As much as I like this album, I can't shake that "stale" feeling the compositions have. You really get the sense that they could not have continued in the same style and still make great albums. But nonetheless, this album is firmly in the same style and league as the previous one. The only real exception in Give It Back, which is an interesting attempt to work a reggae beat into their style. It doesn't really succeed and is the biggest failure on the album. But still not terrible, and far from being mainstream, even for 1976.

The title track, Another Show, and the final two tracks are as vital and complex as anything they had done in the previous 3 or 4 albums, even if they are not quite at the same level (mainly because, as I mentioned, the "formula" was getting a bit old). Design is quite possibly the strangest and most off the wall thing they ever did. I'm never sure if I like it or not, but it is quite an interesting listen and certainly demonstrates that they were not making any concessions to popular music on this album. Empty City is a nice mellower track (by GG standards anyway) and I would argue is the only track that even hints at what was coming. Still a decent song though.

The concept, while certainly thin, is not really any worse than previous ones. I've never really felt GG albums were concept albums in the sense of most prog bands........at best they a common theme and little more........with the obvious exception of Three Friends. The concepts were are always somewhat vague and never really took over the album, with individual songs always working perfectly fine when detached from the album (something that can't be said about most prog concept album songs).

So this belongs quite firmly in the "full on prog" period of the band, I'd say. As the band member quotes in the liner notes of The Missing Piece point out, that album was truly where the band consciously and deliberately tried to make themselves more accessible and alter and streamline their sound to appease the record company and the pop charts. The fact that they failed miserably doesn't detract from the great music of all the albums prior to, and including, this one.

In reality, if ever I needed a half star rating system, it is with this album. A 3.5 if ever their was one; good, but also essential for anyone wanting to explore this band......but get this one last of the true prog Giant albums. But since I can't select 3.5, I'll go with 4, as this band in their prime deserved nothing less.

infandous | 4/5 |

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