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Gentle Giant - Interview CD (album) cover

INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.78 | 500 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars So what happened to the band's inspiration after Free Hand?

After dropping jaws all over the world along with frightening many conventional listeners because of the band's insanely complex songs and off kilter structure they finally hit a wall with this release. In'terview represents the band's decline into certain madness, with every release to follow this one receiving less and less praise until the band's eventual demise. That said, it is still a very good album by any standards, and perhaps still very 'consistent' - the problem is that it's more of the same, but the same is just a little more bland. This release has no individual songs to blow your head off, nor are there any songs that wow you with their ingenuity. This is a mere collection of tunes, and Gentle Giant fans have come to expect more from the band than that.

For the most part this is a dumbed down version of the Giant. While the songs are fun and catchy, they're not quite to the level of excellence that previous albums have reached. This means that the album is, in fact, rather accessible and easy to get into, but it's probably the one that will wear off first. Weakness shows right from the first track, Interview which is a heavy and fun tune but suffers from undirected minimalism during the middle of the song coupled with a rather unchanging melody that becomes tiresome after about 6 minutes. Design is another song that suffers greatly from the dumbed down approach, the band having split the song into two parts, one of them with very little going on but the trademark vocal harmonies and the second being the more active part which still, unfortunately, fails to really impress.

Luckily, this album does have some of the better song in the Giant's discography as well. Give It Back is a very genre defining tune when 'eclectic' is used to describe it - quirky and complex, fun as well as chilling, and somehow almost emotional. It pushes you away with the bizarre synth effects only to bring you back in with rhythmic clinking and the more subdued keyboard niceties. While the song still doesn't have the same effect as, say, On Reflection it does do a good job of showing what the band is good at. I Lost My Head is the longest tune on the album and perhaps the most impressive, it's a two part mini-suite that basically shifts from slow segment to fast segment, but the melodies used within make it comparable to some of the more 'classic' songs that we've heard from the band.

The rest of the songs on the album are merely passable, some of them hardly memorable. Another Show is another fast and somewhat hard-hitting song, but it comes off as a standard rocker which is easily forgettable without a memorable chorus or some other sort of hook - it's just a bunch of heavy melodies with some random cacophony thrown in for good measure. Empty City is the generic and obligatory slow song on the album while Timing is some simple filler used to fill time.

Being an album full of peaks and valleys it's hard to recommend to the Gentle Giant beginner, but for the experienced with the band this is still a good one to get. It's wholly listenable unlike some of the later efforts which have some songs which would make proggers turn right off the band (I betcha thought they couldn't do it!), but not the first album for most to start with. Uneven is the best word for the album, although the good parts are still very good and the low parts really aren't all that bad. This one scrapes across to a 3-star rating, good, but not essential for those not interested in the band beyond the essentials.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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