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THE MISSING PIECE

Gentle Giant

Eclectic Prog


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Gentle Giant The Missing Piece  album cover
2.95 | 354 ratings | 51 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Two Weeks In Spain (3:00)
2. I'm Turning Around (3:54)
3. Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It (2:20)
4. Who Do You Think You Are? (3:33)
5. Mountain Time (3:19)
6. As Old As You're Young (4:19)
7. Memories Of Old Days (7:15)
8. Winning (4:12)
9. For Nobody (4:00)

Total Time: 35:52

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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The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)
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GENTLE GIANT The Missing Piece ratings distribution


2.95
(354 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
7%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
18%
Good, but non-essential (47%)
47%
Collectors/fans only (21%)
21%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

GENTLE GIANT The Missing Piece reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As disco died a quick (but hopefully painful) death with the emergence of "new wave," and the sound of radio mercifully changed, many established Prog bands -- sometimes labeled "dinosaurs," or irrelevant, by the 'hip" spokespeople for the new music -- began to change too.

"The Missing Piece" reveals a "kinder, gentler" Giant, moving to shorter, less overtly-experimental songs that were almost radio-friendly. I believe that the song "I'm Turning Around" speaks at least in part to this issue: compromise, or starve. (Not that the new approach garnered them much air-time in my area....) One might therefore think that a long-term fan like myself would have hated this more "accessible" Gentle Giant, but not so: I always loved this album , because even "commercial" Giant is still wildly original music

From the rocking, rollicking fun of "Two Weeks in Spain," "Betcha Thought we Couldn't do It" (a barb for their critics), "Mountain Time," and "Winning" (which really rocks), to the delightful and uplifting "As Old as You're Young," to the sentimental pure-Prog majesty of "Memories of Old Days," this is one of the best latter-day GG albums. When I said that it showed a "kinder, gentler Giant" it was mostly because I couldn't resist the expression. But make no mistake: though the material often simpler than the classic early stuff, this album rocks! (For the record, I also liked the even more "updated" and hard-edged Civilian.)

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#6245) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Review by corbet
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Now, it must be said, I'm inclined to love just about anything Gentle Giant ever released or even breathed on. Thus, with the following praise in mind, unprepared fans of the band's earlier work may get to this album, and a song like "I'm Turning Around," and laugh their pants off. This would be an unfortunate reaction. Okay, so there is definitely a shift in direction evident on this album -- there are less overtly "proggy" songs, more purely rocking songs, and a general lifting of the intense burden of creating "yet another insane experimental masterpiece!!!" that every album preceding seemed to bear. That said, what this album ends up doing is expressing the band's musical personalities in an especially direct fashion that will delight the true Gentle Giant fan, and they will especially treasure this music. "As Old As You're Young" is one of my favorite GG songs, with an uplifting and magical vibe that seems to me to be so essentially Kerry Minnear. "Memories of Old Days" is absolutely spellbinding, featuring layers of shimmering acoustic guitar and electric piano that fill the air with an almost palpable melancholy. "For Nobody" is a balls-out prog charger that leaves no doubt that the boys could never lose their edge. It's all the more remarkable to me that this is all contained in one album with such gems as the aforementioned ballad (!) "I'm Turning Around." If you've already been convinced of Gentle Giant's previous albums, don't entertain any doubt about this one -- there's nothing but goods to be found.

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Send comments to corbet (BETA) | Report this review (#6246) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 23, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars This is the end, really. Just one song (the last one and the longer one) and it is very aptly named Memories of Old Days, that would fit into the previous Lp, but it was a staple in their later live shows too. But for the rest: the songs would be good for another rock band that might have done their masterpiece with this material but simply not for this Giant. Everything spells different on those tracks of the first side of the album, starting with Derek's increasingly irritating vocals, but the most obvious being the "simplified" songwriting. Don't get me wrong, here?. GG didn't turn into Status Quo. The songs are still well written and arranged, but they are written with the conscious effort of conquering the US market and therefore the temptation to beef up the tunes and AOR-izing them is unfortunately all too present. And of course , it doesn't work very well since it is un-GG-like. A real let-down. I do not rate highly Power & Freehand but for other reasons, not for mediocrity of this one. And the worst is yet to come........

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6247) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 02, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What's missing here is the creative spark that allowed earlier albums to catch fire. From the opening bars of "Two Weeks In Spain", which initially sounds to be on the wrong speed, it's clear that GENTLE GIANT has tampered with the formula or tapped out their well of inspiration. Thus, "The Missing Piece" marks an end to the unbroken chain of great albums begun in 1970 with their eponymous debut. The once-dazzling arrangements, built around complex riffs from Ray SHULMAN and Kerry MINNEAR, here fall flat for the first time. The band known for sublime album sides knocks off restless and noisy bits, as heard in the contentious "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It", which seemed ironically to anticipate commercial success with this new approach. Only "I'm Turning Around" harks back to earlier successes, on the first side of music anyway. The second side, oddly, picks up where Interview left off, albeit half an album late. The medieval-sounding "As Old As You're Young" and darting counterpoint of "For Nobody" in particular reveal a return to form.

As it turned out, it would be the last time GENTLE GIANT scaled these heights, opting instead to follow the first side of this album for the subsequent "Giant For A Day". With the "Interview" tour behind them, perhaps it's no wonder the band sounds exhausted in the studio. Unlike their next record, "The Missing Piece" does have redeeming features, but it's hardly an integral piece of the puzzle. If you've purchased all of their earlier records and still feel something's missing, then I'd pick this up. Otherwise, you're not missing anything.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#6250) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is probably underrated. Overall, this is an excellent album as you may hear an original Gentle Giant style (discrete music with great vocal) and some straight-forward music influenced by early groups such as Beatles. Oooppsss . !! Yeah, if you listen to track 3 "Betcha ." you would definitely agree with my statement. It reminds me The BEATLES "Rock'n'Roll Music". But that only happen with one track and no harm at all with it as Beatles has influenced many groups in the world.

The varieties of song in this album are really good. There is a ballad and tend to be poppy song like "I'm Turning Around" (well, actually I like this song very much. It's sweet and was popular in my home country around end of 70s period). There are some mellow but heavy tracks eg. "Memories of Old Days" and happy track like "Two Weeks in Spain". My best favorite track of this album is "For Nobody". It rocks! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#6252) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First part of their 'pop' trilogy although the latter half of the albums sounds like outtakes from "Interview", only slightly less quirky. The opening track "Two Weeks in Spain" is a fun and bouncing number that instantly sets the tone for the A-side and while these tracks are far from progressive rock they often have a good hook to them. I can't really recommend this to anyone but for those who are interested, though tracks like "Memories of Old Days" and "For Nobody" are very strong and rather complex cuts. Not a bad album at all musically though not the most appealing for the average proghead either, therefore three stars mainly for the B-side.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#6254) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album might well represent the most precipitous decline in all of prog. But that depends on how you view its predecessor, 'Interview'. For my money, 'Interview' is the climax of the Gentle Giant journey, easily one of the greatest moments in their highly impressive 8-album string. Then a year later, the bottom drops out of from under them. As if they had run out of ideas, 'The Missing Piece' is largely bland and boring. You'll hear a few excellent songs wandering in and out of an unusually high number of duds. Unfortunately they would never recover, as the following two albums are even weaker.

THE GOOD STUFF: "Two Weeks In Spain", an ultra-bouncy opener that sees every musician operating at their usually high level. Completely tight, with their godlike syncopation intact.

"Memories Of Old Days", which holds a pensive, melancholy tone throughout its 7+ minute duration, a wonderful song that could've been on any of their previous albums.

"Winning" offers the deliberately awkward groove of prime G.G., and though it's not exactly as memorable as their best material, it's yet another fascinating chunk of music that only this band could've come up with.

"For Nobody" is the best song here, a high-energy track with an arrangement that melts great part into great part into great part with the ease of a band that possesses a rare chemistry. A delightful listen.

THE BAD STUFF: Let's get "As Old As You're Young" and "I'm Turning Around" out of the way first. The former is not necessarily bad, I can't identify anything about it that outright stinks, but it lacks personality and seems under-baked. We can probably call this one filler, but it's certainly not horrendous, just a little lame and ever so slightly twee. "I'm Turning Around" is the band's first obvious attempt at radio-ready material. It reminds of Genesis' "Follow You Follow Me" and much of the 'Duke' album, in terms of production and attitude. Somehow I also hear Supertramp and Asia in this song, and as far as I'm concerned, that's Gentle Giant slumming. Skip it.

"Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" is basic pub-rock, boogie-ing its way into a black hole. Awful, unnecessary and totally forgettable.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" is a light, funky, fluffy number, complete with jangly guitar and loose grooves that maybe should've been called "Man, Are We Tired Or What?". Boring, boring, boring. This track sees Gentle Giant veering dangerously close to the middle-of-the-road AOR that was infecting many rock bands by 1977.

Ditto on "Mountain Time". Who the hell let Bob Seger in the studio? I have a friend who would call this "plumber rock". No offense to plumbers, but that works for me.

This is the first way-below-average Gentle Giant album. It's not a total loss, but remember that this band wrote in their second album, 'Acquiring The Taste': "It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with one thought: that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating." No doubt the band achieved that goal for most of their career. But it seems that with 'The Missing Piece', they were no longer interested in impressing anybody and were instead settling into the less-is-more mindset that afflicts a vast majority of great-but-aging prog bands.

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#6258) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 06, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ".look at the mirror over there, what do you see? Tell yourself a lie."

I won't lie with this review, (I never lie at all!). I will tell you how I feel listening to The Missing Piece, an album transitional in nature, with very interesting compositions, still good! And still entertaining! Yes, it's not their most experimental effort, nor their peak of maturity, but a sign of that times.anyway you can't turn back the clock! Is it pop? Was it thought for commercial audience? If so what's a pop!! If only all the then commercial albums had been arranged and played in such a beauty.in such a freshness.!

The new 2005 35th anniversary remastered edition is very well packaged, in "green- grass revealer" colour. The sound is very clear and strong. It's a pleasure to listen to such good reissues! Even if the booklet it's poor, only providing the lyrics. The front cover is very nice with that puzzle missing piece lying on the grass. reciprocally the back cover is the "almost" complete Giant's puzzle composition! Some funny surprises expect us!!

The first part of the album starts with a "shocking" (I admit it) Two Weeks In Spain, an excellent straightforward rocker about some great holydays (or tour?) the band should have enjoyed in that Iberian beautiful country that year, I suppose! (3 stars).

I'm Turning Around is a soft romantic ballad.this is the only "really strange" one here and after listening to it a few times I can't say it's bad, Gentle Giant never made "bad" albums! P.S. Giant For A Day and Civilian are not prog, but surely good commercial works.(2 stars).

Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It, is even more rocker than the opener, very well played and sung, nice strong guitar riffs. Not really progressive, but good anyway! (2,5 stars).

Who Do You Think You Are is a well refine track, perhaps a little too repetitive.not the best of the album, enjoyable yet! (2 stars).

Mountain Time.for me this one is great and catchy, with a good funny tempo! (3 stars).

As Old As You're Young is a classic Gentle Giant's song. It reminds of the earlier years but it's at the same time as joyful and fresh as it's the general vein of The Missing Piece! (3,5 stars) P.S. Some references with the 1976 Jethro Tull's Too Old To Rock'n'Roll, Too Young To Die!"?

Memories Of Old Days is a real GEM, softly and sadly played. In my honest opinion the best of the album, with nice, atmospheric, delicate and acoustic guitar work and medieval feeling graced by Gary Green. It seems to me to hear to some Strawbs' passages.(4,5 stars).

Winning is a more happier song about a raising winner but a falling man! (3,5 stars).

For Nobody should have been the album's opener.so strong and in a traditional GG's vein.really STRONG! (4 stars). P.S. the remastered edition has also the live version of this great track, recorded in Cleveland (USA) during 1977.who saw them performing live in UK in those wretched punk and new wave days?

The Missing Piece remains a fine collection. The relatively poor sales say more about the changes taking place in the music scene at the time than they do about the album itself. All the excitement of Gentle Giant's unique chemistry is here! Let's enjoy! 3-3,5 the final score!

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Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Review by Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An underrated album. Sure it is not as mind blowing as as In a Glass House or Octopus, but this is still Gentle Giant we are talking about!

The songs are more accessible overall, the band choosing to stick with their main instruments rather than using flutes, vibraphones, violins or cellos or what-have-you, but the arrangements are still as intricate as before. More straightforward and concise but still excellent songs.

I will not do a song by song review, but here are my favorites : Two Weeks in Spain, Mountain Time, As Old as you're Young, For Nobody and a very special mention for the hauntingly beautiful and melancholic Memories of Old Days. Incredible layers of guitars grace the song, and I challenge you to find a Gentle Giant song as emotionnaly charged as this one on ANY GG album. This song is a masterpiece.

Do yourself a favor : listen to this album and make up your own mind about it. You will find it to be better than what is being said about it.

An excellent addition to your collection, as with all Gentle Giant albums (except perhaps Giant for A Day, which still has it's moments, but that's another review!!!).

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Posted Sunday, July 16, 2006

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
3 stars The Missing Piece, Gentle Giants first footfalls into the world of popular music. Even though that is true, it is good pop music, and there are still progressive elements to most of their songs (something they would lose in their next album). All the memebers of the band still play strongly, although i hardly think they were playing their best.

Things start off rolling with the rocking tune of Two Weeks In Spain. I have always enjoyed this song, as it is very good straight forward rock music. Derek's vocals add a bit of humor, IMO, and are a great element to make this song diverse (another problem that i have with the 'pop' era of GG). Next Up is I'm Turning Around. A gentler piece that isn't all too spectacular but nice none the less. The next two songs show the weaker side of Giant's accessible music. Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It, has bad lyrics and way too rocky for Giant. I also don't like Derek's vocals on this one, but i think that is just personal taste. Who Do You Think You Are? has a country feel and comes off bad in the end. However, the good point to the song, is Derek's singing. Something i find very enjoyable. After that we have a very good strech of music that includes many progressive elements. Mountian Time brings us back to the good ol' days of Giant with jumpy piano, off beat instrumentations, and a good melody, especially in the vocal line. However, it is still very much a pop/rock song. As Old As You Are Young begins with some very GG keyboards, guitar, and bass. Also, its pleasent to hear Kerry back at the mic. Even though i do prefer Derek's vocals, it has always been a staple of the Giant for multiple vocalists. Also, his gentler voice fits the mood of the song much better. Also, here is the first use of vocal counterpoint on this album (something i enjoy very much). A great song indeed. Next up is the lengthy Memories Of Old Days. A nice, slow, growing, progressive song with excellent lyrics, guitar, and atmosphere. Definitely the most progressive song on the album, it is certainly a highlight. Winning starts off with an interesting percussion solo semi-bash which then grows into a solid upbeat melody. More progressive elements can be found in this song, which makes this song one of the better ones on the album. The final song on the album is For Nobody. An agressive rocking song, with great melody and vocal lines. I am perticulary fond of Johns drumming for some odd reason. It ceratinly drives the song forward in a big way. Also, this song has more of that Giant staple, vocal counterpoint. Add a short little Mr. Green guitar solo and there is nothing bad about this song, and i would certainly put it in the albums top three.

All in all, this is the start of a new Gentle Giant, even though they held on to their progressive past, especially with the last half of the album. There is not much to dislike on this album, however, in terms of progressiveness this album stumbles. A good idea of Giant fans, and for fans that don't mind a little more rock in their music. Recommended.

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Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Missing Piece is the ninth album from Gentle Giant and it´s a big change from their trademark progressive rock style. The Missing Piece is a much more straightforward rock album compared to the previous eight very progressive rock albums from Gentle Giant. Some people believe that The Missing Piece is a commercial and an artistical sell out, but I must admit that I enjoy most of the songs on The Missing piece and it might even be a bit more exciting to me than the previous album Interview.

There are two masterpiece songs on The Missing Piece IMO. The first song Two Weeks In Spain and the last song For Nobody which both rank among my alltime favorite Gentle Giant songs. The commercial sounding ballad I'm Turning Around is also pretty good in my ears and so is Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It, Who Do You Think You Are? And Winning. As Old As You're Young is a bit special as it sounds as if it could have been on one of the previous albums. It´s a very enjoyable song. Memories Of Old Days is a very beautiful song in my ears even though it also has a commercial touch.

The musicianship is outstanding as always when we´re talking Gentle Giant, but the elaborate instrumental ideas has been cut down a bit on The Missing Piece and many of the songs employ a more normal rock instrumentation than what we´re used to from Gentle Giant.

The production is great and powerful.

The Missing Piece is a good album IMO, and not quite the disappointment I remembered it to be. If I should chose between The Missing Piece and it´s predessessor Interview I think I would chose The Missing Piece. The Missing Piece might not be as artisticly valid as Interview but it´s catchy and memorable. The prog elements are not as obvious as earlier but Gentle Giant is still a progressive rock band on The Missing Piece. The downfall has started though and would be complete with the next album Giant for a Day. The Missing Piece does deserve more than an average rating IMO so a small 4 star rating is probably in order.

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Posted Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Review by 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.

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Posted Friday, October 17, 2008

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Oh boy, what happened here? Is this the same Gentle Giant that made such masterpieces as In A Glass House, The Power and the Glory and Free Hand? No, it couldn't possibly be!?! But unfortunately it is...

I have always thought that Derek Shulman's voice would work on any type of song. This time it's actually Kerry Minnear who surprised me by incorporating his vocals to songs like As Old As You're Young and I'm Turning Around. Although the melodies themselves work quite well I really can't related to this new style that, for most part, seem flat and uninspired. I can't really say I wasn't warned by the track titles like Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It and Memories Of Old Days, but still it hurt me to hear one of my top five favorite bands perform at this low altitude. If anything, this is a new low in the band's otherwise magnificent career up until this point.

I'm really lost for words when it comes to The Missing Piece. The few excellent performances are completely overshadowed by the mediocrity that the rest of the album has to offer. The high peaks might save it from the lowest mark but it really doesn't deserve more than a collectors/fans only rating that I'm giving it.

**** star songs: Two Weeks In Spain (3:00) I'm Turning Around (3:54) Memories Of Old Days (7:15)

*** star songs: Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It (2:20) Mountain Time (3:19) As Old As You're Young (4:19) Winning (4:12) For Nobody (4:00)

** star songs: Who Do You Think You Are? (3:33)

Total rating: 3,30

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Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The Missing Piece is the ninth studio album by british progressive/art rock band. Despite the title of the album, I don't think it's a missing piece of anything. It cannot be a missing piece, because it doesn't need a lot of attention. It's a missing piece of itself. Why I'm speaking about this? It's because of the abyss between this and past works by Gentle Giant. The quality of the music is much lower than everything until this album. The Missing Piece is strong departure from their progart style. It's much more pop and simple, without depth in songwriting and musicianship. This album looks like a fake imitation of the real Gentle Giant, so that it's another band. Only for people with Gentle Giant collections. Serious attention deserve only the last song - For Nobody which is pleasant sample of the past progart greatness of the band. 2,5 stars

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Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The missing Piece of the title seems to be a reference to the band´s complex sound up to then. So the missing piece would be simplicity. Well, that´s the theory a brazilian writer left when he wrote a book about prog rock in the mid 80´s. It makes sense. In 1977 the music industry was not interested in complex music at all. In fact it was eager to drop their acts altogether and sign up the up-and-coming new bands that were from the fad, the punk movement (a move they would soon regret, but that´s another story). And Gentle Giant tried to adapt to the new reality. A lot of fans did not like this album at all. Much to my surprise I didn´t find it not even half as bad as I initially though it would be. In fact, it is, consdering the time period when it was recorded, quite good.

Ok, The Missing Piece is no Octopus or Free Hand. It´s not a classic. But it does have more good moments than bad ones. The vinyl´s first side is where the short, ´simple´stuff (by GG ´s standards, of course) is. Songs like Two Weeks In Spain and I´m Turning Around are more ´radio friendly´ but still bear the GG´s trademark signature. However, Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It is surely the weakest thing they haD ever released thus far. Even if it was only a joke with critics it added nothing to the group´s repertoir and kind of spoil the overall sound. A really waste of time and efford. Who Do You Think You Are and Mountain Time are ok, at best. They fit in the new concept, I guess, but are not as good as the two firstt ones. Things improve a lot on the second side, much more progressive and convincing. And The Missing Piece does have the classic GG track in the form of Memories Of The Old Days. this 7 minute tune is one of their best ever, with terrific acoustic guitar lines and an inspired arrangement. As Old As You Are Young sounds like a lost Jethro Tull track, while the two last songs Winning and For Nobody are powerful compositions and could be on any of their earlier works.

Conclusion: The Missing Piece is not a classic GG record, but does contain enough good material to warrant itt a 3 star rating. It is good, but not as the the previous ones the group has put out until then. But if you like this unique and groundbreaking band, it is worth checking it out. Not for beginners, thought.

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Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars What's for sure is that I am not missing this album at all!

"Gentle Giant" simplified their music (which I can't blame) but turned into some commercial outfit which was not really welcome: probably a sign of time. While the band was highly creative (even if I have never been a fan of theirs), it is all gone here.

Some attempt to rock'n'roll ("Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It") sounds quite ridiculous to my ears. Luckily, it is very short. The funky "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "Mountain Time" aren't any better, I'm afraid.

One of the few songs that is bearable is "As Old As You're Young": it is immediately recognizable as a GG song. It sounds fresh, a bit complex even if it is somewhat more commercial and of easier approach than a classic GG song.

The best track by far is "Memories Of Old Days": one goes through a very nice instrumental intro to a typical GG song even if, again, the structure is less tortured and therefore more accessible than usual. It conveys a pleasant medieval feel (classic guitar). It is a very good track indeed. But there is only one like this on "The Missing Piece". Still, the closing and frenetic number "For Nobody" also deserves a mention.

In all, this is not an album to recommend IMHHO. Two stars.

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Posted Saturday, November 06, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Missing Piece marks a change in the Gentle Giant sound. The songs here are not as thoroughly thought out as on previous releases, making this album far simpler in sound and influences. By this time, Gentle Giant had decided to try writing music with more of a pop edge to appeal more to fans of pop music and to gain more play on radio. This change in direction didn't really work well at all, and really sounds uninspired. The songs ultimately sound like boring and slightly quirk pop-rock. Better than most pop-rock, but still within the same realm. The medieval instrumentation is nearly completely gone by this point, and none of the musicianship really sticks out. Though this isn't terrible music, it certainly doesn't live up the Gentle Giant's earlier music. Unfortunately, this sound would go on to get worse in subsequent releases.

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Posted Friday, April 08, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars If this was as far into pop as Gentle Giant would venture, I could have lived with that. I actually liked this when it was first released. But then there was "Giant For a Day".

Two Weeks In Spain starts the album in a poppy way, but the song does have a bit of that olf GG instrumental interplay. Aside from a tinny mix, it's not that bad. I'm Turning Around is a relatively soft ballad, with a good chorus, saved by powerful keyboards and a good bass line.

Next is Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It. Okay, you could do it. You can stop now. Actually, this straight ahead rocker is very good. Better than the rockers on the last two albums. Who Do You Think You Are? almost sounds like it wants to be southern rock, with a New Orleans sound as well. But it has some of those Gentle Giant rhythmic turns, keeping it relatively interesting. Mountain Time is a bluesy piano beased song. It's not bad, but also not memorable.

As Old As You're Young, with Ray Shulman on lead vocals, is the best old-style Gentle Giant song, with the familiar madrigal style, and great vocal weaving. Memories Of Old Days has some beautiful guitar work, and because of that, is one of the Giant's best light ballads. Winning sounds like it was recorded for the previous album, "Interview". It has the rhythmic experimentention that permeates that album. It's not a bad song, either.

For Nobody closes the album in a nice way. This energetic piece has fine organ work, and some spectacular vocal arrangements. It leaves me wanting more.

Sure, this is by no means Gentle Giant's best work, but it is progressive, contains much of the band's identity, and is a worthwhile album for the prog fan.

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Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Contrary to popular belief, Prog Rock didn't immediately roll over and die with the arrival of Punk. In retrospect nearly every major English Progressive Rock band (with the exception of ELP, already struggling in the tar pits of dinosaur superstardom) met the social upheavals of the era with some of their most assured music to date.

Think of Genesis with "Trick of the Tail"...Pink Floyd with "Animals"...Yes and Jethro Tull with "Going For the One" and "Songs From the Wood". Even cult acts like Camel and Van Der Graaf (note the newly re-tooled moniker) successfully reinvented themselves in "Rain Dances" and "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome".

And you can make a similar claim about Gentle Giant with their 1977 album "The Missing Piece". It's nowhere near the same creative plateau as "The Power and the Glory" or "In a Glass House", but if nothing else the album proved that even the quirkiest Proggers could sacrifice a little eclecticism without compromising their unique musical character.

A rediscovered surge of energy and enthusiasm is immediately evident in the album opener "Two Weeks in Spain", and in the aggressive curtain closer "For Nobody", the latter song in particular making the strongest case for a new, revitalized Gentle Giant. Echoes of bygone delicacy can be heard in the aptly titled "Memories of Old Days", although I wish Kerry Minnear had been allowed the lead vocals. And no one would ever mistake the choppy, spasmodic rhythms of "Who Do You Think You Are?" or the clattering thing called "Winning" for Top-40 sell-outs.

Even the admittedly stupid hillbilly stomp of "Mountain Time" never fails to put a smile on my face, prompting as it does a mental image of the barefoot Shulman boys passing around a jug of Appalachian moonshine.

You could argue that the tongue-in-cheek Punk Rock riposte of "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" was never going to convince an audience of kids with safety-pins in their ears (it had a few too many chords). But the only obvious misstep on the album was the Arena Rock wannabe anthem "I'm Turning Around", according to Derek Shulman written at a moment's notice under record company duress.

Too bad the band never followed up on the blueprint drawn here, instead topping a solid new foundation with the flimsy tinker-toy edifice of "Giant For a Day" the next year. It's as if, having found the piece to complete the puzzle, they couldn't understand the finished picture, a pattern likewise followed by too many other Prog Rock bands around the same time: see the albums "Tormato", "Stormwatch", "...And Then There Were Three", even (despite its massive popularity) the bloated beached whale known as "The Wall".

In retrospect maybe it wouldn't have mattered. "The Missing Piece" showed that yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. But your jaded friends and neighbors still won't take any notice.

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Posted Saturday, January 07, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Gentle Giant, missing in action...

Gentle Giant's "The Missing Piece" is a transitional album made during 1977 as disco was beginning to be king and punk was alive and spitting. The album I have came with the dismal followup "Giant For a Day" and in comparison to that, this album is very good. However, gone are the technical coimplexities of the Giant only to be replaced with very simple three chord wonder melodic rock. I like the way it starts with its raucous and rather catchy 'Two Weeks in Spain', the Shulman brothers sound great and this one is infectious with some weird musicianship. It then goes steadily downhill with 'I'm Turning Around', a failed attempt at a ballad single, that did not trouble the top of the charts either side of the Atlantic. 'Betcha Thought we couldn't do it' is mediocre quasi-punk as is 'Who do you think you are?' and the nauseating hicksville of 'Mountain Time'. It picks up a bit with a more progressive approach with 'Memories of Old Days' that has a longer running time and even effects of children thrown in. The album even ends on something proggy with 'For Nobody' but this is rather a lacklustre album.

The liner notes attempt to explain or justify this mediocrity from a band we have come to admire over the years for their virtuoso complexity in prog. Ray Shulman explains; "it was a funny period of time; we were suddenly searching for an identity, what we ought to be, where we were going to fit in. There was a degree of pressure to make a more commercial album, and to be honest I can't even remember whether it was self-generated or from the outside; in any case, we'd always tried to avoid repeating ourselves, we were always looking for something new to do." The result is this rather poor effort and it certainly was the beginning of disaster for the group that would continue to decline on the ensuing GG catalogue.

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Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars NOT as bad as you could think.

Hey Hey Hey now, this is actually a good record. The 'missing piece' in the GG panorama as finally been found in terms of shorter, punchier rock songs with easy mélodies to hum. Is it the end?

Of course not, it's not the end of the GG we know and love! Their fingerprints (or earprints?) are all over the record, with still the quirkyness staples but maybe more bluesy at times, and they haven't lost their ability to rock. This album contains some of the heavyest moments in Giant's history.

Anyway, we can spot spectacular moments like Only As Old as You're Young, arguably one of the strongest songs in their catalogs. This killer track is a white ray of light in your morning; great melody and clever playing. For those who claim loud and proud that GG changed from this album should reconsider the level of your earing aid because the musicianship is still stellar!

As smooth and pleasant as the billiard's carpet of the cover and certainly as good as Interview.

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Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It came, really, as no surprise that I would find this album strangely rewarding. I find that in the autumn of my youth have come to appreciate the odder albums in my favorite bands catalogues more than ever before, sometimes to the expense of albums I previously hailed as masterpieces. When I came across Black Sabbath's Never say die I found it lacklustre and strange, boring and uninspired. So much, in fact, that I never seemed to get to the end of the bloody thing. Nowadays I rate it extremely high and find it to be an excellent album, bolstering angst, fury and skillful musicianship dressed in slicker form than on any previous album.

So, reading about The missing piece I was intrigued and curious. I find that GG:s debut is amongst the finest prog-albums ever made, in it's quirky british conglomerate of sounds and textures. This album gets some praise, some flak and some lukewarm reviews. I had to listen to it, discover it and form my own opinion.

Actually I find that half of the album works very well, while the other half is so-and-so. Firstly I'd like to say something of the musical direction displayed on here. It is true that it is more accessible than before, almost pop in some places. But what does that mean? Pop? "You mean pop as in "Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep" by Middle of the road?" No way, (wo)man! The thing is that I find the album to be a blend of art-pop, prog and rock. It is in places similar to Supertramp, like in Mountain time with it's hammering of the piano.

The best tracks are those where the trademarks of GG is still evident, like in the magnificent pop-prog of "As old as you're young". The vocals of Mr. Derek Shulman is as recognisable as ever and the keyboards is GG at their finest, really. The complexity of the past is there. The music can't be, and now I am talking about the album in general, classified as easy listening. Though accessible it retains the characteristica of the band, which basically is the enormous musical skills they possess.

"Memories of old days" is the longest track and in some ways the one that really lets the prog flag fly high. A great song in it's own right that in the presence of the other more pop-oriented tracks stand out like a boot in your gravy. I really love the atmospheres and skillful melody of the whole thing.

Other tracks worth mentioning is "Two weeks in Spain" and "For nobody". The tracks not mentioned aren't really bad, it is after all GG we're talking about. They aren't even fillers, just not up to my liking.

So, what is the conclusion then? The missing piece is an enjoyable album with plenty going for it. The album is not the disaster one sometimes could be lead to believe. I would, however, not recommend to someone eager to investigate GG:s catalogue. Still, if you are acquainted, to take a listen. I think you'll find something to love, something to like and probably one or two track to dislike. The result will though, I think, be a listening experience more enjoyable than unpleasant.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#1039988) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 20, 2013

Latest members reviews

3 stars For me as the person from the former Soviet Union, it is easy and evident why I love song-oriented things or at maximum extended song-oriented things or at absolute maximum one reasonably avantgarde piece per career. That is why my faves are Gentle Giant and most of Queen. That is why I see T ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059425) | Posted by Woon | Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This will be the first Gentle Giant album I review here but I've heard some and loved them all. I did this review because of the low rating it has got and realized after listening my opinion was similar to the majority's. This is a pleasant album with some really good compositions but it's not a ... (read more)

Report this review (#950041) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Acquiring the Taste for "The Missing Piece": As an eclectic prog fan, I am somewhat new to being a Gentle Giant fan. "Three Friends" languished at the back of my collection for a few years, as I had considered it, based upon a couple of listenings, to be somewhat pompous and boring. At this t ... (read more)

Report this review (#935195) | Posted by Fenrispuppy | Monday, March 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Perfect Frosted Mini Wheat album! (You need to look that reference up to get it.) Kansas' "Audio-Visions" is too, but in a bad way. Solid 4 stars. Perfect for any Prog Head who like it a bit harder. This is my favorite GG album. I cranked this up more than Free Hand and TP&TG. It's progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#679779) | Posted by Monsterbass74 | Saturday, March 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The way I see it, this album was somewhat of a clumsy compromise with the sudden sweeping of prog from the public's sphere of appreciation. The first side (Two Weeks In Spain through Mountain Time) contains a bunch of Giant-tinged attempts at pop songs, which are quite a mixed bag; the second side ( ... (read more)

Report this review (#621694) | Posted by Zargasheth | Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok, I think it's terribly unfortunate that the Missing Piece is rated so low. If you actually listen to it, you will see this is a great album. I've been familiar with virtually all of Giant's discography (including the unfortunate Giant for a Day and the slightly better Civilian) however this o ... (read more)

Report this review (#437315) | Posted by bdsynchronicity88 | Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The album begins with Gentle Giant trying something new. "Two Weeks In Spain" is dedicated to the working class holiday. It fuses elements of punk and progressive music, and in my opinion, quite successfully. It's catchy, it's fun, and you can still hear some old Gentle Giant in there. The nex ... (read more)

Report this review (#403996) | Posted by Slaughternalia | Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars What a fitting title! And it can't be a coincidence that the ' missing piece ' happens to be part of the Gentle Giant puzzle's forehead. My guess is the band were self-aware that they had given their sound a total frontal lobotomy. I really don't mind when prog artists go 'pap' if they do it in a ... (read more)

Report this review (#301228) | Posted by LionRocker | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Being relatively new to Gentle Giant, all I knew about them at the time was that they had a reputation for being an A grade prog group. So, when I saw The Missing Piece in the record store I jumped at the chance of owning my first slice of GG pie... A lot of people have said that the best pla ... (read more)

Report this review (#292251) | Posted by NeilTheDruid | Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a GG album that seems very polarizing for many people. I understand why, as it's the first big move toward commercial accessibility for the band. There were some signs earlier, but The Missing Piece carries it through. I don't find it as bad as Giant for Day, which I find unlistenable, ... (read more)

Report this review (#281199) | Posted by yanch | Monday, May 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not really prog, but not a album overall, pop, disco even punkrock (Betcha Thought We COuldn't Do It), bluesrock, boogy (Mountain Time), all sorts of styles are integrated in the album. Overly commercial, very safe and it could have been the big breaktrough for the band, but it wasn't. Maybe n ... (read more)

Report this review (#189865) | Posted by Kingsnake | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Picking just one favorite Gentle Giant album is impossible since in my opinion everything from In A Glass House is fantastic in their own right, except Giant For A Day. For me their records tend to go in cycles but one that's always a frequent inhabitant in my CD-player is The Missing Piece. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#186855) | Posted by jarild | Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 stars really: Well, this may not be the best ever Gentle Giant album and there are even some slightly poppy Genesis moments in there (I'm Turning Around sounds like them in my opinion) but even though they haven't produced a masterpiece the album is still rather listenable. The tracks 'Old ... (read more)

Report this review (#173512) | Posted by TerryK | Tuesday, June 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Ouch. It's like a cheap 1978 Genesis rip-off. From the opening rollicking notes of 'Two Weeks In Spain' to the unfulfilled ending of 'For Nobody', 'The Missing Piece' is a boring piece of commercial clap trap destined to alienate the would-be Giant fan. I've had to sit through this thing three ... (read more)

Report this review (#126662) | Posted by SuzyCreamcheese | Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars THE MISSING PIECE was GENTLE GIANT's first more catchy album. It is often said that Gentle Giant has lost its quality on this CD but such statements are not fair, in my opinion. This album contains some of my favourite GENTLE GIANT-songs (for example the sad ballad "Memories Of Old Days", probabl ... (read more)

Report this review (#105061) | Posted by Badabec | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I really could'nt resist! 1.5 stars to this record is not fair! I mean...this is a real masterpiece! Maybe it's because it was the first record of GG I heard. Or maybe because as a musician I see things a little bit in a different way. But on this record you can hear what prog is all about: m ... (read more)

Report this review (#100767) | Posted by scandosch | Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A typical 1.5 stars CD, if you ask me. I would not have rated this record that bad if this was not a prog-related site. But it is. So, if we call Gentle Giant one of the greatest art-rock groups ever, it's not because of this piece of music (and not because of the late releases in general). The s ... (read more)

Report this review (#100750) | Posted by nebenfluss | Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album ended my quest for Gentle Giant albums back in the mid 90's when I first got it. I had been buying up all the albums I could find by them (on CD). I was a bit wary of this one, due to the date and the fact that it seemed that all of the prog bands of the 70's had regressed into lame ... (read more)

Report this review (#88505) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This album, much like most of Genesis's 80's output, is like a bad relationship. The kind of bad relationship where instead of breaking up with the other person, you continue to be with them, but only give half the effort. The band was essentially saying, "You know, despite that we've collectivel ... (read more)

Report this review (#84439) | Posted by dagrush | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Despite it`s complexities Gentle Giant always maintained a lighter side to their music both in the studio and in live performances. The missing piece was released at a time when the band was doing some soul searching with the advent of fluctuating musical tastes in the late 1970`s with the evil f ... (read more)

Report this review (#79785) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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