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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gentle Giant

Missing Piece

Review by Gary Hill

This Gentle Giant disc consists of a lot of fairly short compositions. The tracks are in many cases more straight ahead rock and roll. That said, it’s still potent enough to please prog heads and this is arguably the band’s most accessible album. I like it a lot.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Two Weeks in Spain
This is a fairly accessible, but still rather proggy number. It makes me think of what you might get if you crossed Pablo Cruise with Frank Zappa. I dig the vocal arrangement. The instrumental breaks are cool, too. The second one, in particular brings some of the most proggy music of the tune.
I'm Turning Around
The mellow section that starts this off reminds me of Chris Squire meet Eric Clapton. When the song powers out into the scorching hard rocking prog, it still somehow reminds me of Squire and to a lesser degree Yes.
Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It
Deceptively simple, this feels like a pretty straightforward rock and roller. Still, if you dig deeper there’s a bit of prog in the mix here. 
Who Do You Think You Are?
Bouncy and quirky, in some ways this feels more mainstream than the previous cut. Yet, the off-kilter arrangement is deceptively complex and interesting in nature. 
Mountain Time
A bluesy, hard rocking tune, this is cool – if not all that proggy.  
As Old as You're Young
If you are wondering by this point if this is, in fact, a progressive rock album, the proof comes here. This is a bouncy and quirky prog piece with the keyboards taking a more prominent role than on much of the disc. The vocal arrangement on this is quite complex (and tasty) and there is a Yes-like instrumental section mid-song. This is a great piece of music that’s one of the most dynamic and intriguing cuts here. It’s also a highlight of the set. There’s a tasty instrumental movement that serves as the outro, too. 
Memories of Old Days
A space rock element leads this off. The gentle acoustic guitar that joins, though, makes me think of Steve Howe. As this builds it begins to remind me of Renaissance. It becomes more of a unique contraption from there and is a balladic progressive rock number. There’s a rather bluegrass like acoustic guitar breakdown later in the track. It does have some harder rocking moments at points in the number, too. This is another highlight of the set. 
Winning
A more energetic rocker, this one is really a lot like Nektar with perhaps some Captain Beyond and Yes thrown into the mix. It’s a good tune, but not really a standout.
For Nobody
Another fast paced piece, this is pure prog rock and purely tasty.
 
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