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Gentle Giant - Interview CD (album) cover

INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 897 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The 8th album by Gentle Giant tends to get some bad reviews for some reason, probably because it is more complex than their previous album "Free Hand", which was the band's most popular album, regardless of the fact that even it is a lot more complex than what you would normally hear on the radio and elsewhere.

Interview - This track is based off of the questions and answers that the band used to get from interviewers through the years. It is actually a cool concept and it works well with the complex music that the band produces. There is a main vocal riff that is followed throughout different parts of the track, but for the most part, it doesn't have a melody that it follows. The instrumentals are great, almost sounding like the chit-chat of many interviews at once.

Give It Back - This one has a reggae feel to it, and the interesting way the band messes with the rhythm is quite interesting. Of course, fans should know this is what you should expect. It's like what reggae would sound like if it were progressive. It's got that odd time signature, yet it still manages to maintain a catchy beat at the same time. The marimba is quite a fascinating touch to the track, giving it the "island" sound, but the complexity level is still there so that you know it's still Gentle Giant doing what they do best, being complex for the sake of complexity.

Design - Finally, we get that unique harmony that GG was famous for. While the band sings the swaying harmony in the background that mostly consists of 2 notes, Minnear sings the lead that definitely doesn't follow the background rhythm at all. Soon, the track moves into all voices singing together in another strange melodic style while a lot of percussive instruments and sound play around behind them. This is quite an interesting track, dependent mostly on the cool vocals going on, sometimes contrasting each other and other times enhancing each other, and then becoming somewhat unhinged by the end.

Another Show - The shortest track, one that would be appealing for the radio, at least in the length, still doesn't reign in the complexity of the vocals and instruments working together. Changing meters, complex melodies and such end up turning this into an inaccessible track for most people, but that's what we listen to GG for, isn't it?

Empty City - Another harmonically heavy track with the members again singing interesting variations at the same time in places during the verses. Shulman, however, sings solo during the chorus. Another great example of how GG always tipped conventional songwriting on its head. The instrumentals are a bit smoother during the verses, but get more brash on the choruses.

Timing - More complexity and interesting instrumentation, this time featuring some strings and such. The members of the band were all multi-instrumentalists thus allowing them to play almost anything and to also switch instruments amongst themselves.

I Lost My Head - Begins with a much lighter feel with an acoustic style, yet with still the GG complexity, but more on the folk side. This continues to build as it goes on. The track is strongly reliant on vocals but still has its share of great instrumental parts, continuing in the same complex vein as the rest of the album.

This is an album that I really enjoy with only one major issue: it seems that the band worked so much on complexities, that they have forgotten to be a bit more dynamic like they were in "Free Hand" and other albums. However, this is not an issue that merits the bad reviews that the album has received from fans and critics. In the case of my rating, it knocks it down from a masterpiece to being a four star album, yet one that is still worth looking for and adding to your collection. I still consider it one of the band's best efforts while others tend to see it as the beginning of the band's downfall. I don't agree with this, I think it is a worthy addition to their discography.

TCat | 4/5 |

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