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Gentle Giant - Interview CD (album) cover

INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 703 ratings

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NetsNJFan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1977 Gentle Giant looked around, saw the music scene, and one of the most beloved prog bands of all time shifted their focus to commercialized 'pop' music. Luckily, they gave their fans one more album, "Interview (1976)" before going pop. This album is horribly underrated by fans, and is the last real album by these 'Giants' of progressive rock. "Interview" is very much the successor to "Free Hand (1975)", featuring powerful, lean rock arrangements and an abundance of driving vocals from Derek Shulman. One can definitely see that the band is worn out at this point though. On every previous release they had expanded and progressed their sound, and this one remains relatively stagnant. They use more conventional instrumentation (a trend they had been moving towards since 1973), and gone are the Xylophones and Flutes, etc. Gentle Giant is powerful enough to make even boring regular rock instruments (Bass, Organ, Guitar) sound exciting and fresh the way they play. "Interview" follows a loose concept, with snippets of band interviews interspersed throughout. The prevailing theme in the lyrics is Gentle Giant's frustration with the music industry, understandable due to their boundless talent and relative commercial failure when compared to other prog-rock groups.

"Interview" begins very strongly with the song "Interview". This song is quite experimental (yet quite listenable), hard rocking, jarring and played to perfection - A summary of all Gentle Giant means to me. It is hard to single out one instrument for praise in this song, since they are all played so proficiently, but Kerry Minnear's electric piano must be heard to be believed, it is simply outstanding on this track. When you think of Gentle Giant + Reggae, you naturally wouldn't think it works, but it does! The song "Give it Back" is a perfect blending of progressive rock and reggae music, and is an album highlight. This is something I think only a few bands could pull off, Gentle Giant proving they are one of them. The next track, "Design" is very experimental, and is one of the heavily vocal tracks they usually have, in the manner of "knots" or "On Reflection". It is interesting, but not that strong, and is one of the albums weak spots, one gets the feeling they are re-treading extremely old ground with this track. The next song ("another Show") is a nice up-tempo, concise rocker, a perfect example of progressive rock in a three and a half minute song. "Empty City" is one of the album's best songs, and is one of the prettiest songs GG has recorded. It begins with a beautiful acoustic introduction with a complex vocal harmony, (this passage repeats later). The song then gets heavier, while keeping its melancholic tone, and then returns to the acoustic beginning - A truly delightful song. "Timing" is another good song, though nothing special for Gentle Giant, and has an excellent solo spot for guitarist Gary Green. We also finally get to hear Ray Shulman's violin on this track, about time! The album closes in high fashion with the wonderful "I Lost My Head". This song is divided into two sections, the opening a beautiful passage on clavinet and the latter a hard rock-prog section which repeats the basic themes stated in the opening - A great track. A good ending to an enjoyable album.

Sadly, this will be the last release of any importance from Gentle Giant, as starting in 1977, they will embark on a path into oblivion. But as for "Interview", it is recommended to fans who like their prog on the hard side (not metal) with complex instrumentation and clever arrangements. A Great Album! - 4 Stars.

NetsNJFan | 4/5 |

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