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GIRAFFE

Crossover Prog • United States


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Giraffe biography
Founded in Los Angeles, USA in 1987 - Disbanded in 1989

GIRAFFE was Kevin GILBERT's 2nd band following his experience with the group "NRG" (No Reason Given). The group released two independent records - 1987's "The Power Of Suggestion" and 1988's "A View From Here."

In 1999 Kevin Gilbert's estate released a remastered compilation simply titled "Giraffe" that included 90% of both of those records, along with a bonus and live cut.
(taken from their website)

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GIRAFFE discography


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GIRAFFE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 19 ratings
The Power Of Suggestion
1987
2.32 | 20 ratings
The View From Here
1989

GIRAFFE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 11 ratings
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94
2014

GIRAFFE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GIRAFFE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.29 | 7 ratings
Giraffe
1999

GIRAFFE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GIRAFFE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Power Of Suggestion by GIRAFFE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.32 | 19 ratings

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The Power Of Suggestion
Giraffe Crossover Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Kevin Gilbert was one of those up and coming stars whose light was dimmed way too early as he died at the age of 29. Best known for his solo works with 'The Shaming Of The True' perhaps the most successful, Gilbert started out in a band called NRG (No Reason Given) and then moved on to another band GIRAFFE which released two independent albums before he moved on to his solo career.

As a Bay Area native, Gilbert formed GIRAFFE in Sunnyvale, CA in the mid-80s and released two albums, this debut THE POWER OF SUGGESTION and the following 'The View From Here.' Gilbert first caught the music world's attention with GIRAFFE which won an international talent contest sponsored by Yamaha in 1988, the year the second album was released which led him to Los Angeles and a relationship with Sheryl Crow.

On this debut album GIRAFFE exists in the strange blurry world between 80s synthpop and progressive rock. On the surface THE POWER OF SUGGESTION seems to fit in quite well in the synthpop dominated 80s with not only one but three keyboardists that crank out synth-laden melodies with the extra heft of guitar, bass and what sounds like programmed drums. Compositionally though, the tracks were a bit more sophisticated than say Duran Duran or A Flock of Seagulls that teased their post-punk angst into highly accessible chunks.

Overall GIRAFFE comes off as somewhat of an anomaly for the era. While certain parts sound like the funkier synthpop of 70s Stevie Wonder with George Michael sounding vocals, the music has more nuances than the standard top 40 hits of the day. If i had to compare to any one band of the era, i would say the intricate keyboard and rhythmic workouts remind me most of Level 42. The music is filled with sophisticated keyboard riffs, guitar power chords and ridiculously catchy melodic flows.

Each track has its own distinct feel but not all are created equal. Some provide a more bombastic touch as on 'Image Maker' with a dominant guitar heft while others like 'Because of You' exercise a more new romantic approach but also dish out a cheesy dose of canned drumbeats, Trevor Horn production values and overall 80s synthpop overkill. While i commend Gilbert for taking the music to another level of sophistication, the truth is that these sorts of synthpop sound best as simple catchy no nonsense pop.

Despite the awkward feel to the music presented here, it's actually not that bad. It retains the catchy hooks that 80s synthpop dished out in abundance while latching on to some of the progressive contemporary touches laid down by neo-prog but in the end this will probably come off as way to pop oriented for prog rock lovers and too pompous for simple pop followers. For me it's not that this combo effect should be taboo as i love such unorthodox behaviors. In the end it just isn't compelling enough to get really excited about. So in the end, this is not a bad album but neither is it a great one. So it exists somewhere in between.

 The View From Here by GIRAFFE album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.32 | 20 ratings

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The View From Here
Giraffe Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Like most people here on PA, I believe, I came to know this band through their performance on 1994īs ProgFest edition when they played most of Genesis rock opera The lamb Lies Down On Broadway. It was a very good show and I instantly became curious about their original work. And my curiosity was spurred even further by one reviewer that gave them a five star rating for their work (but did not write a review). It was not easy to find one of Giraffeīs only two albums (in this case, their second and last offering, released in 1988 through an independent label). Iīm still a bit shocked.

Clearly I was expecting for something very Genesis influenced and the like and I was quite surprised with what I found here: a mix of pop/techno/funk. Ok, The first three cuts are the most progressive of the lot, if I can call them that, some parts reminding me slightly of Peter Gabrielīs work around the time of So or Us. However, as the record goes on, the tracks go deeper and deeper into the pop/funk format of many late 80īs american artists, including those typical synth sounds and even some guest horns and sax solo like we hear in All Fall Down. Not bad songs per se, but for a band invited to perform on a prog festival? It is ok that the music here is quite sophisticated, but so is Mike & The Mechanics or Level 42īs and you donīt often see them being asked to play for a prog audience, do you? Just hear the uptempo funk of Waiting For The Rain or the delicate pop ballad of Holding On With Both Hands, perfect songs for people like Toto or Peter Cetera.

All in all a strange surprise. Itīs hard to figure out what Kevin Gilbertīs first major group was aiming at, other then the pop market of the time, of course. So if you were as curious as I was about Giraffe, be sure to listen to this record with attention before you buy it. And donīt be fooled by the first two or three tracks that have traces of something progressive. You might be very disappointed by the remaining tunes of the CD. I donīt like to give such a low rating for a band that I hardly know of, and Iīm still puzzled by what I have in my hands, but I should warn you all. Is it the same CD another reviewer gave it five stars? I doubt it.

A bad case of mistaken identity.

 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94 by GIRAFFE album cover Live, 2014
3.53 | 11 ratings

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The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94
Giraffe Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the second cover version of The Lamb that I've reviewed in addition to the original, the other tribute being by Nick D'Virgilio's "Rewiring Genesis." I gave that album five stars, and upon learning that Nick D'Virgilio also appeared on a cover performance by Kevin Gilbert's band (whose solo album "The Shaming of the True" I quite enjoyed) I decided to give this album a shot.

Unfortunately, this album is not so good as the "Rewiring Genesis" tribute. Where that album rearranged and added elements to songs that made them sound fresh and new, this one is pretty much a straight cover performance. There's nothing wrong with that, of course; it's performed very well, it's just that there really is nothing new here. I strongly believe that in order for a cover to be worth doing something should be added; the performers should do something to make it their own. Otherwise I generally find myself wondering why I'm not just listening to the original, and that's basically the case here.

In addition, many of the best songs from the Lamb are not here. No "Chamber of 32 Doors," no "Hairless Heart," no "The Light Dies Down on Broadway." I understand that the performers had a limited amount of time, but again, that's something that makes me wonder why I'm listening to this and not just the original.

I don't mean to sound too harsh; there certainly are good things about this performance. Kevin Gilbert sings with a lot of passion and it's a lot of fun to hear him narrate, occasionally adding bits that I'm sure were not in Gabriel's original narration. I'm sure this concert was amazing to see; it simply doesn't translate fantastically to an audio album. If there was a DVD of this that would probably be a much better experience of this concert.

I suppose my biggest problem is that there's just not much reason to listen to this. If you want to hear a good cover of the Lamb, "Rewiring Genesis," is a much better choice; and if you want to hear Gilbert do his thing than his aforementioned solo album shows his abilities far better than this. It's a good performance of good music, but that's all it is; a performance. I think this falls somewhere between "collectors/fans only" and "good, but non-essential;" for now, I'll go ahead and round up.

2.5/5, Rounded up.

 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94 by GIRAFFE album cover Live, 2014
3.53 | 11 ratings

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The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - ProgFest '94
Giraffe Crossover Prog

Review by brystmar

4 stars Let me start by saying that it's an utter tragedy that this recording is so hard to find. And even moreso that I'm the first to review this performance here -- 15 years after it took place! It took all of my resources to find video of this performance, but it was worth the effort many times over. This cover of The Lamb from ProgFest '94 rekindled my already healthy love for this classic Genesis concept album.

Beware: this recording is infectious. I'm the type of person who can't stand listening to the same stuff over and over again, but since discovering this gem in December, I'm hard pressed to think of a single day where this album wasn't either playing through my head or through my stereo. I'd wake up with a specific part of the concert in my head, then immediately dart for the computer to satiate my desire to hear it again.

The show starts with Kevin Gilbert strutting on stage, a boombox proudly mounted on his shoulder, with the voice of Casey Kasem announcing an old classic was being resurrected: The band? Genesis. And the song? A golden oldie: Invisible Touch!

The crowd instantly erupts with boos. Kevin responds by slamming the boombox into a nearby garbage can, then repeatedly crushing it with a 2x4. Justice at last!

Then the lights dim, the curtains are drawn, and the band starts up with The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. I'm not gonna go into every song here, but let me just say that the quality of musicianship was absolutely superb. I'm an overly critical listener and consider myself quite the elitist in this regard, and I'm happy to report that -- aside from a couple of keyboard blips where the pianist rushed his solo passages -- this concert was about as true to the original as it gets. Kevin even includes the original storyline segues made famous by Gabriel.

The only performer I was familiar with in the band was Nick DiVirgilio (a personal favorite), meaning I was totally unfamiliar with Kevin Gilbert and Giraffe prior to hearing this recording. To say he impressed me would be an understatement: I now prefer this band's (and Kevin's) interpretation of a few songs (namely Colony of Slippermen) to the original! After reading up more on Gilbert, it's truly a shame that he died so prematurely; this guy had some serious musical talent. Too sad.

As much as I love this album, it does contain a few disappointments. Firstly, some of my favorite songs from The Lamb were omitted from this performance. Gilbert jokes, It's at this point in our story that Rael skips the next 3 songs due to time considerations... Counting Out Time, The Chamber Of 32 Doors, Anyway, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist, The Light Dies Down On Broadway, and Riding The Scree are all unfortunately absent, and I would LOVE to hear the band's interpretation of each. Especially Riding The Scree. :)

Additionally, the band's recreation of The Carpet Crawlers was quite a let-down. Granted, this song is extremely delicate in both its construction and presentation, but it's this ethereal quality that makes the song so compelling. This performance feels a little too slow; the driving musical melody from the original is gone; Gilbert's voice simply cannot recreate the calm, soothing undertones that Peter Gabriel mastered; and the guitarist sounds a little off for much of the song. Carpet Crawlers is the only blemish on this otherwise masterful recreation of The Lamb.

While Carpet Crawlers is the low point of this album, songs from the latter half of The Lamb are where these guys truly shine. Their performance of The Colony of Slippermen is, in a word, marvelous; I now prefer this performance of it to the original. Kevin's voice fits this song's style perfectly, and the band's flawless interpretation gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

The concept album's finale It is recreated perfectly with the same joyous, uptempo feel of the original. The band members' excitement can truly be heard in the production of this song, culminating with Gilbert's mid-song ad-lib: If you think that it's pretentious / [Wait for ProgFest '95!] This song (and the entire album, for that matter) is such a joy to listen to.

I could go on all day about how much this album means to me and how it's changed the way I listen to the original, but I'll instead suggest you stop reading this review and start working on locating a copy of this concert. Right now. Go! Start with a YouTube search for Giraffe Lamb Lies Down and explore from there.

Cheers to Genesis, Giraffe, and Kevin Gilbert!

Thanks to ProgLucky; Atkingani for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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