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INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

Eclectic Prog


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3.76 | 515 ratings | 64 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Interview (6:54)
2. Give It Back (5:08)
3. Design (4:59)
4. Another Show (3:29)
5. Empty City (4:24)
6. Timing (4:50)
7. I Lost My Head (6:58)

Total Time: 36:22

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Green / guitars
- Kerry Minnear / keyboards
- Derek Shulman / vocals, saxes
- Ray Shulman / bass, violin
- John Weathers / drums

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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In'TerviewIn'Terview
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In'TerviewIn'Terview
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INTERVIEW LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHRYSALIS 1976INTERVIEW LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHRYSALIS 1976
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GENTLE GIANT Interview ratings distribution


3.76
(515 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

GENTLE GIANT Interview reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There is nothing more confusing to me in the musical world than the "ho-hum" attitude many GG fans adopt toward this album. THIS IS A FLAT-OUT MASTERPIECE! Are you even listening to the same album as me? After Interview, the band's experimental bug-up-the-ass seems to have finally found its way out, never to fully return; and although they would still make great music, they would never reach the dazzling heights of albums such as this one again. So what do we have here? Easily a contender for one of their top best works, Interview contains some of their most aggressive and electrified music yet. The lead off title-track is possibly GG's most "epic" song, with the fattest bass and organ riffs I've ever heard as well as some furious piano jams and even an electric sitar section! The song's finale is yet another "head exploding moment" and must be heard to be believed. Next we get the deceptively ingenious "Give It Back" which, superficially, has an almost reggae vibe to it; however, after a few listens you begin to see just how many complex musical workouts they managed to pack into that sucker, and the melodies begin to get stuck in your head, and it's all over. A track like none other in their catalog, "Give It Back" is a unique and extremely rewarding musical gem. And then comes "Design". I bet a lot of people won't like "Design", precisely because it is the most experimental and off-the-wall recording the band ever made -- and saying that about THIS band, is really saying something! Driven solely by vocals and various percussion instruments, the boys veer from "pretty" into "uhhh..." territory and back again several times, but don't you lose focus, because half way through the track is hidden a mind-bending vocal jigsaw puzzle that ranks up with "Knots" and "On Reflection" as the band's peak in complex vocal writing. Ultimately, "Design" is one of the most adventurous pieces of music you will ever hear. The remaining tracks (I can't describe them all!) are all masterful and perfect, so just go check it out -- and please, don't ever let me hear anyone say "Up through Free Hand, all of Gentle Giant's albums are excellent..." again! NO! Happy listening.

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Send comments to corbet (BETA) | Report this review (#6222) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars One of the few reasons why GG never really achieved the success that other UK bands did (outside questionable management decision especially regarding the touring) is that they have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot by irritating/provoking the industry. We had seen this with their relatively tasteless acquisition of their second album on top of having difficult albums on the market. Their eighth album is actually their third concept album after Three Friends and TP&TG, but this one is yet another attack on the music industry by depicting fake interviews by having to answer stupid/horrendously daft questions. This was not really a smart thing to do after the good sales of Free Hand and the absurdly cancelled British tour. To even irate further the press and industry, the "conceptual attack " is not even mean, funny or especially sarcastic but simply slightly sardonic and caustic with the interview bits barely audible, probably irritating the press even more and the chose not to even talk about it!

A lot of GG purists consider this album as the first non-classic album, but this is completely unjust, as almost every endearing qualities of the previous albums is here except maybe a real lack of power in the music, as if Green could not have found his usual guitar amp during the recording sessions and used a practice amp with two blown bulbs. The Title track is a perfect example of this, however delightful the songwriting is, something is lacking. One of the surprises is Give It Back that develops into a superb "white" reggae (around that time 10CC had also done the delightful Dreadlock Holiday) that may anger purists but I assure you that it is worthy of a Classic GG album their great percussive sound being perfectly suited for such music genre. Another Show and Empty City being the other faves of mine in this album, the overall feel of the album is leaning a bit towards pop (but GG always had this tendency as Caravan did also), but if I talked of 10CC before it is no coincidence as one could say that a majority of the tracks here, would sound close to a classic album of theirs although they would be on speed when they recorded it.

Although still loaded with crazy rythms and contrapuntal shifts, there is however a subtle shift in direction towards more straightforward songwriting but not anymore than say Three Friends, but believe me this album is still very worthy of them. I happen to like it better than Free Hand. However the following album is an all-together different story, quite mediocre (by GG standards) with just one track that would fit on this album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6223) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "In'terview" marked the end of GENTLE GIANT's early wildly progressive rock rein leaving behind a string of great albums. For me "In'terview" is another wonderful album with some superb musicanship and clever song writing. Tempo swings are abundant (as you would expect) with tons of great vocal syncopation and harmonization. "In'terview" is loosly a concept album with some interviewing actually going on in a few parts throughout the album. Too bad it ever had to end.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#6225) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A second "Free Hand" by design, furnished with another vocal workout, plenty of counterpoint and some added clarity. Although it's not a concept record per se, interviews are a recurring theme. Snippets of an interview inquiring about the band's style segue into the songs themselves, so in effect the music speaks for itself. There are subtle differences between "Interview" and "Free Hand"; the arrangements are leaner, more muscular, driven largely by the intricate interplay of keyboardist Kerry MINNER and Ray SHULMAN on bass. Although I found the second side of "The Missing Piece" pleasant, "Interview" is the last GENTLE GIANT record to fire on all cylinders. The vocal tapestry woven on "Design", the way "I Lost My Head" gambols into a great burst of anger, the soft and dreamy soundscape of "Empty City", these rank right alongside the best songs from their last two albums. In fact, like all good GENTLE GIANT albums, there isn't a bad song to be found. The counterpoint may be more exposed, sinews lacking the soft skin and fur of earlier works like "Three Friends", but if you revel in the band's ambitious counterpoint (and you must have to have made it this far) then you won't mind hearing Kerry, Ray and Gary Green mix it up under a musical microscope. To test yourself, try "Timing." If you like that bite, buy the whole biscuit.

This was the second GG album I owned, and at the time I thought it was heaven. As I bought more from them -- "Acquiring The Taste", "The Power And The Glory", "Octopus", "Free Hand" -- each record seemed slightly better than Interview, and it slid slowly down the ol' imaginary list. Even so, this is the last GG album to belong in the company of giants, and if you want to skip ahead to this without buying the albums before it, no harm done.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#6226) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Being a fervent GG fan, I refuse to give 'Interview' a perfect rating, despite being a great album per se (I'm sorry if I sound a bit "ho-hum" here). It's got its stunning numbers, like the amazing namesake opener, full of tricky complexity and some terrific Derek's singing, as wella as a crafty interlude based on delightful instrumental counterparts; other highlights are the ultra-hard rocking 'Another Show', built on a frenzy 5/4 tempo (some more great singing delivered by Derek at his angriest, and Minnear's Hhammond organ goes almost metallic here!), and the extravagant vocal-percussive tour de force titeld 'Design' (extravagant even for GG standards), where you can find circus folly, Mediaeval chorale and, finally, a superb African climax that adds a neck-breaking fire to the overt display of architectural intelligence. Having properly recognized the greatness of these three fav 'Interview' tracks of mine, I must also admit that I have the impression that the musical ideas instilled in 'I Lost My Head' and 'Empty City' are - to a certain degree - recycled from previous tracks ('Peel the Paint' and 'No God's a Man', respectively): they're good tracks indeed ('Empty City' is very moving to me), but they are also signs that some kind of slight exhaustion is penetrating into the band's creative forces. The other tracks are also worth mentioning here: the blues-infected rocky 'Timing' exhibits GG's ability to merge dissonance and punchy rock effectively, while 'Give It Back', with its pseudo-reggae ambience including calypso-esque twists, portrays with unhidden irony the band's own struggle to keep their artistic integrity intact after their previous album's moderate success. As I stated in the first lines of this review, I don't consider 'Interview' a top recording in GG's gigantic career, but definitely, it's still a great effort not to be avoided by any serious prog collector.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#6228) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I picked it up after listening to Give It Back and a few other tracks from this album, and didn't regret the purchase. The faultless playing and exciting production gives you a feeling of immediacy not reached by many groups, just like most of their albums. The concept of the band members being interviewed is nicely followed through between the songs, but doesn't add anything to the overall mood. The best songs are "I Lost my Head", "Interview" and "Give It Back". Not a weak track here. Considering how the band fell from grace after "Interview" was released back in 1976, this must be seen as a valediction of sorts. I give it 4.5. An excellent album, just very underrated.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#6231) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2004

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Let's get something straight. When Gentle Giant are at their top, it's Acquiring the Taste, Octopus, In A Glass House and Free Hand. And this stuff is so unique, powerful and even moving that 5 stars is not enough to rate it. Some albums are like that. So there's, for me, many kinds of 5 stars rating. Essential and beyond.

For Interview, I had to set aside everything I heard about it. "It's cheap! It's sold-out! The songs are unispired and lacking complexity!" Rah rah rah.... Hey come on. Think in perspective if you want to appreciate this. This is not a huge 5 stars, but still 4 stars.

Interview is the album when Gentle Giant did not improve themselves. It's the Power and Glory quality, at least. At every album, GG seemed to go further and further, peeking at many points of their careers; Free Hand being the last time. So the lastest behind this one is Free Hand, and GG is not known for changing a winning formula quickly. Progressively they became more accessible; and do not read boring. Many reviews are stating this album as a black sheep, I beg to disagree. It's a logical following to Free Hand. Less flutes, a lot less violin, colder approach BUT still are the crackpot harmonies, the complexity pattern, percussions and the quirckyness and cleverness of the old times. I Lost My Head, being one of the brightess moments of their careers. This song only should reassure you of the quality of the product.

Design and Another Show are strange indeed, but do not stand apart of the herd too much. And I like this period. Surprisingly I found this album as good as Power and Glory or Three Friends. I think watching the DVD Giant on the Box is showing a lot where the chemistry of the band was leading. Since In a Glass House, the songs are easier to for them to reproduce in concert. Some songs like Empty City are a nice break after the rockers like Timing. Man this is exceptionnal stuff comparing with so much bands of that time. This beats the heck out of MANY bad stuff done in 1976. And those bands got a better commercial reviewing than GG! So don't come to me and say that Interview is commercial stuff. Dude, come on.

Because of all the whining about this being the 'first' bad GG album privated me from a sheerful experience for a long time. Lesson? Please LISTEN before judging.

Do not fear to put some money on this. You're on solid work.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#6233) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the wonderful "Free hand" album, Gentle Giant comes back with this jewel! WOW! This record is VERY lively and addictive! If you like "Free Hand", then chances that you like this one are high. First of all Gary Green put some light distortion on his electric guitar, and Kerry Minnear exaggerated it on his now VERY dirty organ. The 2 instruments still converse in a very original and extravagant way. Gary Green tries here many sound effects on his guitar: he is always perfectly timed with the rest of the music. The patterns here are slightly more repetitive than usual, but it is not irritating at all. John Weathers plays funny melodic percussions. The musicians play relentlessly. "Design" is a vocal performance, a bit less good than the ones on "Free hand", still exploring canon textures. "Another show" is a boosted clavinet and dirty organ oriented track, where Gary Green accurately inserts his delightful electric guitar notes: with the combination of crazy percussions and elaborated bass, this track is among their most loaded one. "Empty city" is absolutely a jewel: Kerry Minnear decided to float here: it is a total success: he uses a combination of delicate and subtle floating modern synth and a tender Fender Rhodes, which accompany a sophisticated and elegant acoustic guitar: one word: subtlelty! "Timing" is a loud and prog hard rock track: Gary Green plays a visceral hard rock guitar solo here, and the electric violin sounds like Jean Luc Ponty's one; there is also the VERY dirty organ which enhances the hard rock dimension. "I lost my head" is divided into 2 parts: the first one is an excellent combination of clavinet, unidentified acoustic string instrument and vocals; the second parts has a very catchy prog hard rock mood. This album is definitely more hard rock than "Free Hand".

Rating: 4.5/5

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#6235) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005

Review by 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.

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Send comments to NetsNJFan (BETA) | Report this review (#37451) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Gentle Giant were one of, if the only prog band to write lyrics bemoaning the music industry and touring. Think about it. You won't find any of the big prog bands writing anything compariable. For that, I give this album an extra star. Music wise, it's a bit of a letdown from the vastly superior 'Free Hand'. Sure, it has the GG sound, quirky beats, herky jerky rhythms, Ray's booming voice and the occasional a cappella vocalization but the whole of the album seems streamlined, kinda a bastard child of the better 'In A Glass House'. I guess I miss Minnear's melotron work. One member who shines is Weathers. I tend to gravitate towards his drum work. It's just plain wonderful keeping up with the funkiness. My favorite songs are the great "Give It Back" with the awesome keyboard and xylophone play by Minnear and Weathers drums and Ray's bass break inside the 3 minute mark. One of my favorite GG tracks. The other track which just blows me away everytime is "I Lost My Head", it has everything that makes GG one of the best bands that ever was. It should have been a staple on FM radio back in the day. With Minnear's twittering keyboards, Green's acoustic guitar, and Derek's flute and delicate singing in the beginning then the blast of instruments 3 minutes in is pure awesomeness. For those two songs alone, I rate this last pure prog GG album 4 stars. Other albums by the band may be better, but it's a neccesary album for the two tracks I mentioned. Hate the cover, tho. Oh well, can't win them all...

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#50346) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 07, 2005

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album often comes in for lots of criticism, with certain Gentle Giant naming it the first album of the band's downfall. It's incredibly hard to see why. 'Interview' has all the hallmarks of classic Gentle Giant, brings in more memorability and focus, and contains some of the most astonishing musical performances in their 11-album catalog.

The interview snippets running throughout the album are amusing, a clearly tongue-in- cheek stab at the uninformed, unimaginative interviewers the band surely had to deal with all those years. Once the title track slams in with its aggressively punctuated keyboard-strikes, odd bass line and jabbing drums, it's obvious this is one seriously excellent recording/production job. Everything is crisp and punchy, everything thick and well-layered, yet there's lots of space and air in the sound with excellent separation between the instruments. And the whole is cohesive.

And you want odd? You got it. Once the title track hits the four-minute mark, you're treated to a sequence that sounds like it came from the band in the Star Wars cantina. Frighteningly understated polyrhythmic syncopation and a bizarre choice of melodies makes this an early album highlight. "Give It Back" might veer too close to reggae for some, but as with anything they do, GG puts their unique stamp on the style, giving it a strange edge with icy xylophone sounds and a few cosmic fluorishes for good measure. This might be the one song 'Interview' critics point at as the start of the band's downfall, but it would've been a highlight on any of the three forthcoming GG albums. The first side ends with "Design", a freaky alien adventure that centers on various percussive devices and their typically amazing vocal layering. "Design" is something even the most demanding RIO fan would have to applaud.

The second side brings us four very solid tracks that veer along with great momentum, bookended by the manic "Another Show" and the repetitive proto-metal riffing of "I Lost My Head". "Empty City" allows the honeyed voice of Kerry Minnear to accent the lead vocal of Derek Shulman, who puts in one of his best-ever performances here. Some wonderful instrumentation glides along a complex arrangement, its complicated structure being one of their most fascinating excursions. And they make it sound so easy. "Timing" is a track that begins simply enough, but the warps into country mode and then into psyche-Beatles mode, and then into that nervous/anxious rhythmic weirdness that is pure Gentle Giant. Which is exactly what this album is. Quintessential GG.

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Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Less dynamics, but still good.

This album is somewhat comparable to Free Hand in style and setup, although I feel it offers a little bit less. It's still a good GG album, but none of the tracks particularly stand out. There's some traditional GG quirkiness to it, but by this point it's all but expected as an effect to the music, and one might have hoped there would have been something more to offer.

Give it Back is probably the most "odd" here, with an odd rhythm pulsating throughout the mix. As such, I think GG is the most consistent classic prog band. They came out with many solid releases, which is more to speak of than many other classic prog acts, who only had 3 or 4. The album isn't near as "meaty" as other arrangements by GG, but it's still good material. It's softer and less "grandiose" than some of the other records, and the drums and guitars feel much more back and subtle in their approach.

Not my favorite of records, but by no means was a bad release. A nice addition to a GG collection, and actually not a bad introduction to GG for those who don't like guitar-laden music. It would be the last "acceptable" record by the band as well.

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Posted Saturday, December 09, 2006

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I remember vividly when I first purchased the cassette version of this album, I was really in love with the first opening track which was also album title Interview (6:54). The music is really wonderful with its complex arrangement combining weird but nice piano work of Kerry Minear, combined with dynamic and jaw dropping drum of John Weathers. I think the music is an excellent example of how avant-garde music can be composed in touchy package with nice melody and powerful vocal harmonies and accentuation. I like the part where piano sounds like producing notes in different direction but it still sounds magic with the other combination of vocal line, violin as well as drums. This is really a brilliant song and one of my favorite Gentle Giant songs. Well, I know most of Gentle Giant songs are very hard to digest, but not this opening track. It's really catchy, energetic and very captivating, I would say.

Another track like Give It Back (5:08) is also good but with more spins I find this track a bit boring. This also applies to Design (4:59), Another Show (3:29). But the concluding track I Lost My Head (6:58) is also interesting as it has good melody.

Overall, this is not a very strong album by Gentle Giant even though the title track is very interesting and tight in composition. In fact, I invite your opinion on how great I think this track this - are you in agreement with me? It's very powerful!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Monday, December 31, 2007

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Giant's 1976 release was another feat of imagination and invention for them, and more evidence of the formidable contender the entire progressive rock spectrum had become. The title cut leaves little doubt of that and even tragic 'Give it Back' is saved by neat Yes-like tidepools. A hysterical interview and weird choral drone opens 'Design' arriving at an unsettled child at his toybox. If you can hold on for 'Another Show' you'll be in for one of the best songs of the classic prog era, a track that incorporates the energy of arena-rock while retaining its class and precision. It is followed flawlessly by the hip and hot 'Empty City', whiffs of jazz fusion and typically great, masterfully intertwined vocal harmonies. Aptly named 'Timing' with its warped strings and boogie woogie splashed coldly in the face is next, and spidery parlor-rock of 'I Lost My Head' develops with piles of synths, guitars and piano.

A crew of slightly demented minstrels, brilliant but rather mad, Weathers, Green, Minnear, Shulman and Shulman matched anything the big boys had to offer and gave us a terrific and worthy follow-up to 1975's Free Hand. Perhaps just a touch more commercial than previous records but still great prog, a very strong four and 1/2 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Interview is the eigth album from Gentle Giant. Their last album called Free Hand was very successful both artistically and to a certain degree commercially ( this is prog rock. A band like Gentle Giant didnīt sell a million copies). All seemed well within the band with a stable lineup now for the last 4 albums and lots of creative and innovative musical ideas. Interview started the downfall for Gentle Giant though and is generally regarded by the fans as a disappointment after the masterpiece that was Free Hand. Iīm a bit disappointed too but still think that Interview is a very good progressive rock album.

The music is unmistakebly Gentle Giant with all the features that we know from the previous seven albums. Jazz, Rock, polyrythmic choir arrangements and avant garde virtoso playing. Many of the earlier reviews have said that Interview is like a twin album to Free Hand and the style is very similar to that great album. Gentle Giant themselves werenīt very satisfied with Interview as they didnīt feel they had developed their sound further like they had on each of the previous albums. I hear plenty of development though. Just listen to the reggae rhythm in Give It Back. Thatīs something Gentle Giant hadnīt done before. I donīt think there are any weak points on the album, but it is true that Gentle Giant just donīt seem as inspired as they used to. Songs like the aforementioned Give it Back, the title track and the avant garde like Design are all very good tracks though. Another Show needs to be mentioned as it is a powerful song. The remaining three songs are also very good.

The musicianship is one of the main attractions on any Gentle Giant album and as usual itīs outstanding on Interview.

The production is a bit colder than usual from Gentle Giant and does ruin a bit of the listening pleasure. Itīs still pretty good though.

Interview is definitely an above average progressive rock album even though itīs not a favorite of mine from Gentle Giant. I canīt bring myself to give Interview a big 3 star rating so itīll be a small 4 star rating. Out of the eight first albums from Gentle Giant this should be the last one you purchase though. There are traces on Inverview as to what would come on the next Gentle Giant album called The Missing Piece but no one could have imagined that the change in sound would be as significant as it would be. The downfall had started. Sadly.

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Posted Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Review by MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is my favorite Gentle Giant album. Everyone should hear this album at some point, though if you're not familiar with Gentle Giant, I admit this might be quite an odd starting point.

1. Interview- Gentle Giant doing what they do best! Amazing musicianship here, and everyone is top notch. This is a really cool sounding piece and one of my favorites from them. Everything is great and truly creates a piece of music unique to Gentle Giant that can stand the test of time. 10/10

2. Give It Back- An avant-garde take on reggae? You heard me right. This song is actually really neat and enjoyable. This isn't too typical Gentle Giant, but they're pushing some boundaries with this one. 9/10

3. Design- Woah. Possibly the most experimental track Gentle Giant had ever recorded, and it definitely works. There aren't many instruments in this track, and after the first listen you may wonder what the hell you just heard. The vocals are FANTASTIC. A masterpiece of music. Flawless. 10+/10

4. Another Show- Another good composition that isn't really typical GG sound. The number of instruments are not as high, and the overall feel to it you can definitely tell is different. Nonetheless, a fantastic song describing the members' absolute tiring of touring. The keyboards are really good and expressive here, almost carrying that same feel to it of exhaustion. 9/10

5. Empty City- Interesting song once again and crafted extremely well. Opens with a neat guitar part, and then the song develops from there. I like how the mood changes after the first minute and a half to a more dynamic part. 9/10

6. Timing- Haha, I am notorious for loving this song way too much for some reason. Derek's vocals again are good and expressive, the instruments are great, and the band is up to par. The mood again feels a bit odd for GG's standards, which may be why this album gets way overlooked. TIIIIIIIIIIMING!! A favorite of mine, hard to be subjective here. 10/10

7. I Lost My Head- The other flawless track of the album. If I wanted to sum up Gentle Giant in one track, this is definitely a candidate. I love how the medieval-esque keyboards build up more and more with each part, then having the song explode into a rock-oriented part while still maintaining GG-style quirkiness. Great playing all around and I could listen to this song many times in a row. Fantastic work! Flawless. 10+/10

Well, if you are unfamiliar with this album or with Gentle Giant in general, you should definitely pick this up. Again, you should maybe go with Octopus or something else first if you are a newcomer as the sound is a bit atypical here in some aspects.

An experimental, groundbreaking masterpiece of music that marks the end of one of the most creative bands in the past 40 years. Essential.

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Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A musthave for fans, a great album for proglisteners in general.

This is a sort of forgotten, misunderstood and underrated recording of Gentle Giant. Being their 8th studio recording, they were getting out of inspiration. This is their last great effort in my opinion. You can hear some references to older records, but overall it's still very interesting and original.

The opening track is a very Gentle Giant like track, good! I think a lot of people have problems with the reggea influenced (but not sounding like) song Give it back. Actually this is a very decent song with some very nice use of xylophones during the solothemes. Design is a song of the Knots tradition, only a bit stranger (huh?). Yes this is still possible. After a while you begin to like it, though the chants have always touched me in a deep sense. On site two we have 4 great recordings, I lost my Head being one of the best. Here we can hear some very interesting ritmic progression accompanied by great atmospheres, bulls eye.

I can think of no serious mistake the made on this album. All songs are great, the recording is great, all instrument are played very very very interesting and complicated. Even the vocals seem to sound a bit more well recorded then on other albums. The record lives!

So again... very important for fans, though they will have to listen to it more then a few times. This is not the downfall of Gentle Giant! It's just their last musthave record. So... four stars!

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Posted Thursday, December 04, 2008

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Something about this album makes me think the band had interviewed Bob Marley, because if one has ever wished to know what reggae-infused Gentle Giant sounds like, this is the album to get. With the exception of a few excellent songs, this album is fairly weak.

"Interview" The title track has a reggae groove and the unmistakable voice of Derek Shulman belting out the lyrics. Quiet moments separate the loud verses from the instrumental section, which features a jumping piano solo. The section following the piano solo isn't my thing, really, but it does a good job going back to the verse.

"Give it Back" This one is even more reggae than the previous track, with those clean minor chords spanked out on the electric guitar. Even the way the singer phrases the lyrics would fool the listener into thinking this was a Jamaican progressive rock band. It has its own quirky flavor, though, especially with the synthesizer thrown in from time to time.

"Design" The band gives the reggae a rest to showcase a Minnear choir. The band tries to reproduce the zany randomness and counterpoint of "Knots," but this attempt is not as delightful. Minnear's voice is especially pleasant though, as he sings a creative melody.

"Another Show" Gentle Giant dabbles in some wild fusion here. The music is all over the place and sometimes hard to follow. I don't really care for this track much at all.

"Empty City" Beautiful acoustic guitar and subtle electric guitar make this one of the best songs here. The layered vocal work is especially strong. The piece changes often, going from quiet acoustic work to harder rock and back again multiple times.

"Timing" This is a favorite of mine on Interview. It has a grand vocal melody, and the bass work is powerful. There's an eccentric violin solo that precedes Gary Green's moment in the spotlight. The musicianship is tighter here than it is on most of the other songs.

"I Lost My Head" The mini-epic of the album, this begins with some sophisticated acoustic work. It features some memorable themes and lyrics, giving both Shulman and Minnear a chance to shine at the microphone. This song occupies the same strata with the Gentle Giant greats of previous albums.

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Posted Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review by 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.

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Posted Friday, January 09, 2009

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars When I start to discover the work of a classic band that I've somehow overlooked over the years there's a certain amount of luck involved in where I begin. (That's just one of the many reasons that ProgArchives is so relevant and valuable.) The honest ratings and reviews by people in the know usually steer folks like me in the right direction. Accounting for individual taste in music, that first impression can make or break the deal for me with groups like Gentle Giant and I was fortunate enough to get my mitts on "Octopus" and then "Three Friends" in that order. I was delighted with what I heard and that's a good thing because had I picked up "Interview" initially I may never have known why they are so heralded by so many. This being their fourth LP since the departure of Phil Shulman, I find it to be lacking in the charm department that so endeared me to the two aforementioned albums. Due to the admiration evidenced by their fans, I have no doubt that the intervening records have great merit and many incidents of excellence to revel in but this one makes me wonder where the magic went.

After some muffled room noises, the album's namesake song bolts right into a rather unnerving, disjointed jumble of sounds staggering along underneath Derek Shulman's screechy vocal. The verses are separated by a mellower electric piano but the harshness of the overall atmosphere never lets up for long and it grows tiresome quickly. I can understand Derek's exasperation over still being asked repeatedly about brother Phil's departure three years earlier but there's no excuse for taking it out on the listener's ears. "Now that he's gone/turn off our faces/wait for the new man to arrive/soon the same song/sung for the next one/saying our piece/though not alive," he screams. There's a too-brief but delectably wild piano solo midway through that's intriguing but a segment consisting of strange guitarisms from Gary Green splattered over a jerky track comes stumbling right on its heels, ruining the moment. "Give it Back" follows and, while the clever 12/8 reggae-tinged pattern they establish is a nice change of pace, it still falls short of being either tantalizing or engaging. The lead break has no flow to it and the melodies have nothing memorable to offer. Once again the band's career frustrations surface in the dry lyrics. "Haven't had much in a long time/hoping that change is going to be mine." Derek intones. Sorry, boys, I'm just not feeling the love on this one.

But all is not lost. "Design" has a lot of the elements that drew me willingly into the world of GG, starting with their trademark intricate madrigal-style vocalizations that set them apart from the prog pretenders. They have the ability to display a unique knack for creative thought and imagination in their music that's astounding at times and this is one of those occasions. When John Weathers' drums and percussion leap into the fray the mood changes slightly but the song maintains its noble character as they tactfully blend the contrasting aspects of the tune into a cohesive whole. Even the tribal freak out at the end is not out of place. The wistful words capture the essence of a man who is looking back on his life. "His dreams as a boy/were of hope and intention/of making his mark/with his plans and invention/where did they go/how could he know how time goes?" he sings. Unfortunately the bliss doesn't linger as "Another Show" marks a return to the frantic frazzle, this time augmented by Kerry Minnear's drunken, slurring Hammond organ that's as bothersome as a whiny three-year-old rug rat you can't ignore. Derek's stressed out, tortured vocal doesn't do the song any favors, either, as he somehow manages to make the words about life on tour seem like he's talking about being waterboarded in an Iranian prison. "Lock the door and go/heads still in a daze/throw the keys away/lost all count of days." he complains. Hmm. Performing your art for thousands of adoring fans and getting paid for it. And I thought MY job was drudgery!

A breather is vital at this juncture and, thankfully, they supply one with the calmer acoustic guitar approach on "Empty City." The song gradually escalates into a rocker for a while but they graciously reprise the softer tones and tranquility is restored. Bassist Ray Shulman's violin lends a refreshing flavor and the ever-changing arrangement keeps the listener on his toes throughout. The subtle lyrics about a girl leaving her hometown are succinct yet simple. "Timing" is next and it's back to the buzz saw. Its edgy, brittle foundation brazenly steals from what otherwise is an energetic, smoother-moving number and now I'm starting to want to strangle the studio engineer for not clamping a muzzle on this grating endeavor. I'll admit that the faux rock & roll satire in the middle induces a grin or two but Green's shrill guitar solo is shameful. Here Derek continues his tirade about his chosen profession. "See now, like cat then mouse I move/they move, the game hasn't an end." he rues. Enough already!

At least the finale, "I Lost My Head," doesn't make you run for the Excedrin bottle. It's a very intricate acoustic-instrument-driven jazzy thing that cleverly drops into a madrigal atmosphere between the verses as smooth as a car salesman's pitch. Kerry's synthesizer sounds like a small piccolo on the interim section (cool) and the group eventually elevates the groove into something more driving as they adopt an almost Zappa-ish riff to cruise underneath the vocal. As if expressing remorse for the caustic sentiments that run through the album in general, Derek warbles "Everything's true, but everything lies/it's so hard to try to explain it." Well, mom always said if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all. It's not becoming.

What it all boils down to is this. If you're new to Gentle Giant land then start with another album before grappling with this one. A glance at the opinions about this particular recording will reveal that some proggers truly enjoy this in-your-face extravaganza and more power to them. I don't. I read somewhere that, in hindsight, the band thought that this project signified the beginning of a downward trend in their creativity and I have to agree. It just doesn't measure up to their earlier works. 2.3 stars.

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Posted Saturday, March 07, 2009

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Interview is the last album of Gentle Giant, that have to come to the attention of dying hard fans of progart (for the people with moderate views the next albums are also enough good for listening). In contrast to the previous release - Free Hand - Interview contains some better songs than it, like I Lost My Head, Interview and Empty City which could be cite by me as exceptional songs of progart music. But it contains much weaker songs, than Free Hand, which is a constant almost-masterpiece work. Moreover, the structure of this album is not very well produced; tracklisting is not very appropriate. There are interesting rege approach, but as I said the tracklisting is not very well produced. So, this album come into sixth place in my Gentle Giant's list (after Three Friends, In a Glass House, The Power and the Glory, Free Hand and Acquiring the Taste, and little above the debut homonymous album - Gentle Giant).

My final rating of Interview is 4.1 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars This album was the first sign of a downturn in Gentle Giant's career. After four excellent releases the Giants made an amazing three album streak of essential albums, that began with In A Glass House.

After Free Hand, one may argue, that the band had already covered all the possible aspects and directions of their music and so some repetition on the later record was bound to come sooner or later. My issues with this album are quite a few staring like the lack of interesting melodies and the fact that most songs feel like rehashes of the bands previous efforts. This doesn't mean that this material doesn't have the Gentle Giant seal of quality to it, which is why I still really like this album, but ultimately I would rather listen to the first seven albums instead of this release.

Of course not everything is completely unoriginal on In'terview but the material that feels new doesn't hit it off so well with me. I feel like the band was going into a wrong direction with the sugary melody and added reggae rhythm on Give It Back. All in all this album marks the final barely exciting Gentle Giant release since the second half of the '70s seemed to be unkind to the band.

***** star songs: Interview (6:54)

**** star songs: Design (4:59) Another Show (3:29) Empty City (4:24) I Lost My Head (6:58)

*** star songs: Give It Back (5:08) Timing (4:50)

Total rating: 3,92

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Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This is the last of the great Gentle Giant studio albums. And there may be signs of what was to come in the lyrics. It has been a theory of mine that when a band starts writing songs about how horrible it is to be in the music industry, it's time to get out. Few bands ever continue making good music after whining about how bad their job is. Besides Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd. The offending songs here are Interview and Another Show.

Aside from that, this is a great Gentle Giant album, in the tradition that they themselves created. Varied, complex, intelligent (maybe too intelligent for some) compositions with unusual instrumentation. And extremely lush and intertwined vocal parts. It's all here.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#257508) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The End of a Giant

Gentle Giant's INTERVIEW marks the last of the band's classic eight extremely progressive albums. As the genre was in decline, the band attempted to find a pop audience after this album, to no avail. Ironically, the band had achieved its greatest (at least American) success on the previous FREE HAND, an album that had combined GG's trademark complexity with a bit of levity and accessibility. Under time pressure to follow up that success, the band essentially put together FREE HAND 2. The result is predictable; another complex but (relatively) user-friendly album, with less of the fire and heart that FH displayed. But to be very clear, more of FREE HAND is a great thing, and INTERVIEW is an excellent piece of prog rock. Though I usually avoid song-by-song reviews, Gentle Giant's music really begs for the treatment. So here goes.

1. Interview - the album starts with vintage GG led by Kerry Minnear's syncopated organ. Angular melodic lines get traded from organ to voice to bass to piano until we're once again the the realm of calculated chaos that all GG fans love. Though we've heard these sounds before, this ranks up there as one of the better prototypes of the Gentle Giant sound.

2.  Give It Back - a quirky, near reggae tune adds a sense of whimsy to this album that may be part of its lighter reputation. However, the song quickly evolves in complexity peaking in a march-like bridge that uses instrumentation new to the GG repertoire. Harmony guitars, a haunting whistle (? Theremin) alternate with vibes on one of the freshest of the album's pieces.

3.  Design - by this point, GG fans expected a composed a capella piece, and INTERVIEW does not disappoint. This song is one of the most haunting of its kind, using dissonant harmony and noisy percussion in a great piece which is unfortunately a little long for the number of ideas it uses.

4.  Another Show - speeds up the pace with another typical GG groove. This song is solid enough, but shows the band starting to run out of ideas. The entire album suffers from a dearth of strong lead lines (hooks seems terribly inappropriate for this band) and this song really just blends into the background.

5.  Empty City - this is perhaps the best song on the album, starting with a beautiful acoustic guitar and packing by far the strongest emotional punch of the album. The melody line on this one sticks with me, and the balance of moods is good. This is the only song from the album I'd put on a "Best of GG" collection.

6.  Timing - a bit more poppy (by GG standards) this mid-tempo number is very well composed but lacks heart. It features a few great instrumental breaks including a nice rock solo by Gary Green, but just doesn't grab one's attention that well.

7.  I Lost My Head - for some reason this song gets extra mention compared to the other songs on this album, and I'm not sure why. It does employ a little of the Medievalism of early GG, and its light feel is pleasant enough. I actually don't like Minnear's voice on this lead (I thought it one of saving graces of IN A GLASS HOUSE). The melodic lines are good, but too much of the song seems mechanical in execution. It's actually surprising that GG hasn't fallen into this trap more often given the complexity of their music, but here they truly are too much in their head and not enough in the heart.

INTERVIEW must still be considered one of the great Gentle Giant albums, and part of the greater canon of prog. It doesn't meet the masterpiece level of some of its predecessors, but still comes highly recommended. The last great work of one of prog's greatest bands.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#262491) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 25, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3,5 stars, really. Interview was the first ever album by british great proggers Gentle Giant to show some cracks. It is still very good, some would say even excellent when compared to a lot fo things other prog acts were doing at the time, but for GG standards, this one was not as good as what the group was doing up to that point, specially the previous one, the brilliant Free Hand. I read in interviews (pun not inteneded) that the band was feeling the pressure of success: constant touring and little time to write, arrange and record. Maybe this is best shown by the recordīs running time, a meager 36 minutes of music.

Thatīs not to say Interview does not have its moments. Most of the time they still show GGīs incredible musicanship and creativity, plus their unique flair for the nice melody even inside the most avant guard framework.. I Lost My Head is a good example of this. itīs a great track and a typical GG classic: powerful, convincing and original. Itīs the CDīs highlight, no doubt. The main problem here is the fact that the band was less bolder, just recycling the formula used on the other albums. The biggest novelty is the second track, Give It Back, where they recorded a kind of prog-reggae, something I had never heard of. It is quite interesting, but thatīs all. Itīs defintily not one of their best songs.

There was also a change of focus: there is almost no flute, cello or violin and very few sax parts. The mellotron was also retired and replaced by synths. Nothing wrong with that. But once again it seems the band was trying to to change their sound to a more simpler approach. I guess it would be ok if their songwriting was not suffering from exaustion. And, unfortunatly, their next releases would do nothing to fix those problems. The band was caught in a situation where they started to lose their older fans and at the same time were not finding a new audience.

Still, Interview is fine work. Itīs was unfairly treated by fans at the time. They were expecting GG to outdo themselves as they used to so many times in the past. But in the end I found nothing really wrong with the album per se. There is not a single track where you can point mistakes or weakness. Even when they repeated themselves, Gentle Giant did it very well. Maybe my rating is a bit harsh too, but I can put it in the same league as the others. Itīs slightly inferior for GG standards, like it or not. But still a worth addition if youīre a fan of this great and groundbreaking outfit.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#282583) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Many compare this album with their previous release--Free Hand--and seem to believe that Interview is in many ways inferior. Not bad, of course, but not up to their previous standard.

In all honesty, the approach and quality of music contained within Free Hand and Interview is quite similar, and the same high points and flaws apply fairly equally to both. As with Free Hand, I just don't think anything on this album is great, even though the overall range is very solid, from good to very good.

The best tracks for me are the opener and closer, Interview and I Lost My Head, respectively. Both showcase the newer (at least in that time) Gentle Giant approach, with good melody, upbeat rocking, but still keeping some of the classic Gentle Giant texture and intricacy with softer moments and a variety of instruments and keyboard contributions from Minnear. Perhaps they are just a bit repetitive, but unlike other tracks on this album, this at least gives you a chance to "dig in" to some of the good grooves they lay down.

The rest are solid tracks but not great. Some, such as Give It Back and Another Show, just don't have much good material and never had a chance to stand out. Others, such as Empty City and Timing, have some interesting touches but could have been extended a bit in my opinion to hold together better. The by-now-standard innovative song, Design, features a dreamy chorus with Kerry's unique voice floating over, and it sounds less forced than the parallel track from Free Hand (On Reflection).

It's clear that the Giant were getting a bit formulaic by this point, but when that is largely a good formula, why complain? I find this to be a solid album with a few notable highlights. If I Lost My Head is the final "classic" Gentle Giant composition, I think they sent themselves off quite well!

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#285121) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 05, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This GG album is not significantly different from the previous ones. Several songs are really working on my nerves (as usual), the jazzy atmosphere is still very much present, the complexity of the song remains, and vocals are immediately recognizable.

Some songs are heavier than usual ("Timing") but this is not the first time that such a feature can be noticed in GG music. In a word, this album does belong to the genuine GG although some fellow reviewers think differently.

I am of course not a GG specialist, nor a fan. But listening to this work is sufficient to realize this. Of course, the reggae-oriented "Give it Back" is not what one could have expected from this band and it is probably the least appealing track from this "Interview" album.

My favorite song from the whole is the closing and longest song of the whole: "I Lost My Head". It features many influences and can be considered as a fully GG classic. In all, this is a good album that I rate accordingly with three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#308522) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 06, 2010

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars INTERVIEW is one of the weirder albums in the Gentle Giant canon because the fans seem to disagree on what it is. There are arguments made for INTERVIEW being seen among the classic quality as the first seven albums gave us, and there are counterpoints crying that the band took a step too far in selling out and derailed their credibility for good.

I lean on the fence with INTERVIEW. I find it neither the beginning of the end nor the end of the beginning. That may be due to that I was never enamoured by the preceding FREE HAND, finding it average instead of great. INTERVIEW falls in the same ring as FREE HAND, but there are some differences.

Notable is ''Give It Back'' where we see Gentle Giant iron reggae onto their own classic sound resulting in an off pop song only GG can pull off well. Also, the closing ''I Lost My Head'' captures the classic Giant sound in seven minutes going from a delicate beginning to a crashing climax, never losing tension once.

Everything else seems to suffer the same problems as songs on FREE HAND. Gentle Giant seems to have found a system of writing songs which works for them and repeat them ad infinitum. ''Design'' has the vocal intricacies they've been postering since ''Knots'', only less successful. ''Timing'' might as well be ''Killing Time, Part 2'', and you could compare ''Another Show'' to ''Cogs in Cogs'', etc. Gentle Giant are master instrumentalists and composers, but the group really hasn't launched a great album (chronologically speaking) since GLASS HOUSE.

Fun for the fans not familiar with Gentle Giant, but I'm a bit weary of hearing the same ideas pandered across different albums.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#400608) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 14, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars People generally don't enjoy Interview as much as I do, which I don't quite understand. This was my first Gentle Giant album, and I think it serves as a perfect introduction to the band. This album contains everything that has made Gentle Giant stand out in the past; complex arrangements (maybe less so), medieval inspirations, super tight musicianship, unique vocals, etc. The concept here is a bit odd, which is supposed to be some kind of musical interview. I never pay attention to the concept, really. One thing that is very interesting about this album is the second track, "Give it Back", which sounds like some kind of quirky reggae-funk song. As with other Gentle Giant releases, this album is super eclectic with tons of influences rushing through the mix.

Highly recommended and masterly crafted eclectic progressive rock.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#429417) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 08, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Interview might have a somewhat self-referential concept - the trials and tribulations of the music industry, how very (not) original! - but it's another competent album from Gentle Giant, though I wouldn't put it on the level of its predecessor - there's no tracks on here as moving as His Last Voyage, for example, and on the whole it feels like a rougher than average Gentle Giant album without the polish or the more nuanced moments that listeners had come to expect from them.

Still, it's an interesting showcase for the heavier side of the band and on Design and Give It Back they experiment with a few world music and reggae-influenced sounds, suggesting an intriguing new experimental direction which, in the end, they didn't take. It's a shame really - had they stuck to their guns and not lost their nerve, continuing in the direction hinted at on this album, they might have weathered the changes in fashion admirably, but as it is their subsequent studio albums are much less widely-acclaimed than Interview and all that preceded it, and Interview itself ends up rather an oddity - a transitional album between the sound of Free Hand and a potential future sound that the group didn't adopt in the end.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#549760) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Judging from its score here at Prog Archives this 1976 album remains an undervalued gem in the Gentle Giant discography. It may have been the last (and arguably least) of a consecutive quartet of classic recordings. But in what turned out to be their final, fully progressive effort the band put all their strengths on display, and a few of their weaknesses too, which one could argue only helps make it a more balanced effort.

Certainly the lackluster cover art and layout doesn't recommend it very highly. And the album concept itself is a little strained: apparently the group wasn't getting enough love from the music press, so they designed the songs here as answers to (and a parody of) an imaginary interview, conducted by journalist Phil Sutcliffe and heard briefly between some of the tracks.

After the success of "Free Hand" the band could have easily rested on their well-earned laurels. But the punchy title track and the entirety of Side Two (the last four songs, to all you digital kids) are quintessential Gentle Giant: clever, creative, challenging, diverse, melodic, obscure, and often all at once within the space of a few bars.

The opening "Interview" pushes the aesthetic envelope with its epileptic instrumentation and in the spastic near-atonality of Gary Green's guitar solo...but it rocks. And the finely meshed chaos (not a contradiction) of "Another Show" (recalling "The Boys in the Band", from the 1972 "Octopus" album) inaugurates what may in fact be the strongest single side of vinyl in the greater Gentle Giant catalogue, next to the first half of "Free Hand" and Side Two of "Three Friends".

Only the reggae-flavored "Give It Back" and the failed experiment of "Design" don't measure up to the level of craftsmanship heard elsewhere on the album. The former, despite its attractive herky-jerky rhythms, anticipates the dumbed-down pop of subsequent Gentle Giant efforts; and the latter is an inorganic facsimile of earlier, better vocal/percussion arrangements, composed piecemeal by Kerry Minnear in the studio basement while the rest of the band was busy recording upstairs.

The production is a little rougher around the edges than usual: a sign of the times in 1976 ("Anarchy in the U.K." would hit the airwaves a few months later). Otherwise the band was clearly still at the top of its game, in style if not in sales, as they would prove with the release of the double live LP "Playing the Fool" the following year. But from any summit the only available direction is downward, and within a few short years the album would be remembered, if at all, as little more than a poignant reminder of what Progressive Rock could aspire to.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#604731) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 07, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars "Interview" is another of the better Gentle Giant albums beginning with some incredible complex musicianship on the title track, certainly one of the greatest GG songs. This is followed by reggae mayhem on 'Give It Back' that sounds great remastered. Between the songs we hear little interview snippets as transitions from track to track that work very well for a concept. 'Design' is next that brings things down for me with the almost annoying multi harmonies that permeate each album. They love to indulge in this barber shop quartet style but I am not a fan so this is an acquired taste. It is quite amusing though especially with the sproings and boings of percussion and tinkling chimes that are comical. The tribal percussion at the end is great but overall this is just too demented for its own good.

'Another Show' is next with a fast tempo and maniacal circus music intro. When Shulman's vocals come in the song becomes heavier and I like the odd signature. This is as crazy as the band like to be, just pulling out one unusual tempo after another, but this will send some running for cover. The guitar is excellent here competing with the keyboards and weird xylophone percussion. 'Empty City' follows, with dreamy acoustics to allow us to breathe. There are tons of harmonies and some nice basslines on this one, but the album is not up to the quality of previous GG. Notably the interview snippets are absent and that would have been nice to make this album more consistent.

The interview snippet does return again just before 'Timing', another track with bizarre tempo changes and a circus like musicianship. It is difficult to latch onto a melody as there are so many ideas competing against each other. It is a lot of fun to listen to all this inventiveness though, and the violin solo is wonderful, later joined by a powerful lead solo, one of the best instrumental breaks on the album. 'I Lost My Head' is a longer track at almost 7 minutes, and I love it when it finally launches into the melodic last 4 minutes with amazing vocals and guitar powering out on an odd intricate meter.

Overall this is not a masterpiece GG albums, but it has some excellent tracks especially side one, where the band seem to use all their best material on many occasions and run out of steam towards the end. The last track though here excels and is one of my favourite GG songs. It is perhaps best purchased with the box set or with the double CD package with "Free Hand".

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#842402) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 22, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Arguably the purest of all progressive rock groups, Gentle Giant may not have reaped the same commercial rewards as their brethren Yes, ELP and Pink Floyd, but god-damn, they sure made some fine prog music. Essentially, Gentle Giant's album career, which spanned just over a decade, can be split into three distinct phases. Their first four albums - which featured all three Shulman brothers - exhibited a complex sound embellished with an acoustic timbre and medieval hues. Then older brother Ray left the fold, his place going unfilled, and Gentle Giant toughened up, producing three outstanding rock-orientated albums between 1973 and 1975 in the shape of 'In A Glass House', 'The Power & The Glory' and 'Free Hand', undoubtedly their peak phase of productivity. Finally, however, as punk broke and the post-1976 musical landscape began to radically shift, the group adopted a slightly more commercial sound, producing this underrated little jewel and it's equally undervalued follow-ups 'The Missing Piece', 'Giant For A Day' and 'Civillian'. Often cast as the weak links in Gentle Giant's discography, the final four albums plus the excellent live album 'Playing The Fool' can now be acquired together as one package. Titled 'I Lost My Head', this retrospective of the group's latter years proves a truly ear-opening experience, showing that despite the external pressures and lessening progressive overtones, Gentle Giant could still create awe-inspiring music, both as quirk-pop merchants and as serious prog-rock titans. The pick of the Punch - and the album which features the track 'I Lost My Head' - 'Interview' is in fact a concept piece reflecting the individual members utter boredom with the whole media circus surrounding rock groups, the tracks separated by several 'real-life' interview segments. It may lack the youthful fire and vigour of their more expansive works, yet, conversely, there is something immensely satisfying about hearing a super-talented group such as Gentle Giant turning their attention to less esoteric material. Highlights include the aforementioned 'I Lost My Head', which grows carefully from dinky little piano jingles into a full-powered rock thumper, and the equally catchy 'Give It Back', which fires off a series of multi-layered melodies in the group's usual impressive style. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#981836) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Latest members reviews

5 stars You cannot cheat the listener's ear. This is as challenging as ever and incredibly complex, yet some picks are self-plagiaristic, and it sometimes feels like complexity for complexity's sake. Creative juices truly went pretty dry. The aftertaste to creating genius music has lasted for some more, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059407) | Posted by Woon | Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think this album is very underrated in many ways. Maybe because it marks a more avant-garde approach than the older Gentle Giant albums, or maybe because of the complexity of the songs, that ended up putting aside great part of their melodic sense. My impression about In'terview is that it came ... (read more)

Report this review (#1008950) | Posted by Fredfolkblues | Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have forced myself to listen to this album over and over again in varied attempts to try to like it. I love so much of Gentle Giant's oeuvre, even some of the later stuff, that I could not understand why I never really cared for this album. Sure, there are some really good songs: "Interview" ... (read more)

Report this review (#960355) | Posted by Fenrispuppy | Thursday, May 16, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Many prog bands are unique, but can you be more unique than unique. Yes Gentle Giant can. Their distorted sound is so spectacular and peculiar that you wonder how they came up with it. I call their music medieval futurism. If this record was a little step towards broader popularity they did it very ... (read more)

Report this review (#949304) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Whoa - Are the reviews posted to date insane or am I just more mature? More likely, a little of both. This is an excellent album, albeit disturbing, for everyone expected a Free Hand, which I believe was great but for raw feeling, this is it. I have to laugh for "Timing" and "Another Sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#882315) | Posted by Zomby Woof | Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have finally got around to buying this bands back catalog, having admired them for years but never been confronted by their LP's in the shops (thank god for the internet). In a way I am happy about that as I get to enjoy this music, in some cases for the first time. Interview is an absolutely ... (read more)

Report this review (#780961) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, July 02, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although the opinion has already been expressed on this site, I'd like to reinforce that this album is a masterpiece. I struggle to understand some of the other reviews I've read of this album, as it is quite similar to their previous material. This is an excellent album, a good follow-up to Free ... (read more)

Report this review (#621706) | Posted by HURBRET | Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You aint see nothing yet. The 8th album by Gentle Giant offers a wonderful summation to the band way up to that time, and a new horizons and possibilities for future to come, which unfortunately did not implemented eventually, due to the 'prog decline' and all those depressive things? In pa ... (read more)

Report this review (#443864) | Posted by ShW1 | Saturday, May 07, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This follow-up to Free Hand was, according to the band, a rushed effort. One particularly striking account has Kerry Minnear sitting alone in the basement of the recording studio, hurriedly composing the last remaining vocal parts to "Design" on manuscript, which were to be immediately rushed up ... (read more)

Report this review (#435574) | Posted by hegelec | Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Gentle Giant's most transitional album, sandwiched right between the band at a peak of both commercial and artistic potential and the band taking a dramatic plunge in both categories. Actually, there was a rebound of listenability after In'terview, but that stuff probably had just as little chanc ... (read more)

Report this review (#320216) | Posted by KyleSchmidlin | Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's been about 5 years since I first listened to this disc, after reading reviews on PA, telling me how it signals the dawn of their future sellout era. Listening to it was one of those "What are they talking about?" moments. It's refreshing to see that over the years the appreciation for this work ... (read more)

Report this review (#300000) | Posted by axeman | Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Interview is Gentle Giant's last progressive album, and the start of a new generation for the band. Why do the good bands die out young? Interview is Giant's seventh album, released after Free Hand, which is considered to be the band's best. The album has reached some peaks, but some things h ... (read more)

Report this review (#288733) | Posted by The Runaway | Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars All gentle Giant albums up to '77 are superb. I was all ready to stick the boot into this album, but on listening to it I now realise it's an excellent album on a par with their previous releases. All the usual vocal acrobatics - layer upon layer are present on 'Interview'. It certainly is a bi ... (read more)

Report this review (#287526) | Posted by Dobermensch | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Most fans cite 'Interview' as Gentle Giant's last great album, and I agree. Most fans, however, do not think of it as one of their best albums... i happen to believe it is. This and 'The Power and Glory' have long been my two favorite Giant records, and i believe both are masterpieces. Some s ... (read more)

Report this review (#202326) | Posted by AdamHearst | Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In my opinion all 7 previous albums by Gentle Giant are definitely better than this one. There are a few weak moments here and there. For example 'Give it Back' sounds like an out-take from a 10cc album. But, there is still enough inspired weirdness here for me to rate 4 stars with no hesitation ... (read more)

Report this review (#180133) | Posted by digdug | Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#153260) | Posted by infandous | Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I approached this album with trepidation cos every review said "beginning of the end", "a lot less creative" blah blah blah. Well, how wrong they were. This is a superlative GG album, with the exception of "Give it Back" which sounds like 10cc with the sh** kicked out of them. ( What an intriguing ... (read more)

Report this review (#153225) | Posted by kristo68 | Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Gentle Giant is a difficult band to review since they are so unique. The only way I know how to describe this band's music is to compare it to their other records. The Interview album is considered by many to be the last of the "good" progressive albums which this band released. I tend to agr ... (read more)

Report this review (#128240) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the mos underrated records from the most underrated Prog band of all (they not even close in the top ten list). It has everything you need from a prog record: excellent vocals and beautiful crafted works. My favorite by far is "Give It Back" or is It "Empty City"? An excellent choice of a ... (read more)

Report this review (#121208) | Posted by steelyhead | Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars IN'TERVIEW may be the most underrated album here at the archives. I don't know why. It contains all the things we love GENTLE GIANT for. What I want to say is, that the songs are still very complex, just take the killer track "Design", which is one of the best songs the band around the Shulman-br ... (read more)

Report this review (#85974) | Posted by Badabec | Sunday, August 06, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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