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Gentle Giant - The Missing Piece  CD (album) cover

THE MISSING PIECE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

2.95 | 354 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's missing something alright

While Gentle Giant would find themselves on controversial grounds with their previous album, Interview, with The Missing Piece they finally decided to plunge. While the album is not bad by any means this is a very unimpressive effort from the Giant when compared to some of their earlier works. While that may be a little bit unfair to compare since there were surely other factors at work, such as the changing times, it's easy to see that if you're not familiar with the world of the Giant then this is not the place to start with them. While the typical Gentle Giant quirk is still sticking around this album likes to experiment with the truly bizarre, and not always in a good way as one would think. The songs are short and concise as the Giant does, but none of them pack the same kind of potency as their previous works. While many of the songs have a heavy, fast and fun feel to them they ultimately leave you wanting more - more complexities, more composition and more substance.

The opening number is enough to give away just what kind of album you're getting into. Two Weeks In Spain is highlighted by some very jaunting vocals and some quirky instruments. It certainly is melodic and has some very nice charms to it, but like the rest of the album to follow it, it just isn't as satisfying as a composition such as On Reflection or even Wreck. Simple ideas are toyed around with and quickly discarded, and though each idea will get developed over the course of the song it's never nearly as much as the band would in their more adventurous days. Apparently someone wanted the boys in the band to appeal to a wider audience by stripping them of their musical thickness. Well, that person forgot that the majority of their audience was riding on that thickness.

While there's no songs that could be potentially ear wrenching, there's simply nothing that stands out among the pack to make for a truly worthy Giant tune. I'm Turning Around has a pleasant chorus and For Nobody makes for a rocking closer, but the amazing hooks and melodies are strangely absent. A missing piece indeed. Perhaps the only song on the album that really stands out is the borderline mess of Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It which, while fun, is way too fast and muddled, and while many may think, ''oh, this guy's just complaining because it's a 2-minute song and he thinks that 2-minute rockers can't be prog'', this song feels completely forces, and honestly, if they'd played music like that from the beginning, they wouldn't have ''done it'' (come this far). Stick to what you're good at, the moral here.

One of Giant's longer tunes is on the album in the form of Memories of Old Days. This 7-minute number is pleasant and slow, but there's nothing particularly special to speak of about it. The vocals on it are calm and clear, but the most of the song is a slow buildup which leads to a slow proceeding of the song. As Old As You're Young is probably the standout from the second side, but that's only because it has a memorable vocal hook attached to it.

The Missing Piece can stay missing from your collection unless you're a hardcore fan of the band, honestly. While later works would become more and more controversial this is the place to stop for many casual listeners. This album may please fans, but it lacks the magic and majesty of many of Gentle Giant's previous works. 2 stars, fans only.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |

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