The Missing Piece review by Simon Brader
I used to share the 'common' view of The Missing Piece but subsequently discovered it to be one of my favourite GG albums. Here is my TMP redux one more time.
Two Weeks in Spain.
First of all, it's a contemporaneous social commentary on English life which means diddly outside the UK. If part of the hang-up is the lyrics, get over it. Musically it could have been a track on FH or Interview. Even the so-called simplistic opening confuses; there has been much debate about where the beat lies.
I'm Turning Around
Simply gorgeous. Kerry's keys in the quiet bits and Ray's bass in the chorus are a delight.
Fun. A musical parody and to be taken no more seriously than that. They can do a 'take' on the blues, madrigals, jazz, classical themes but not punk?
Who Do You Think We Are
This is a classic GG track. It certainly could have been on Interview. Funky, jerky with loads of GG signatures all through it.
Fantastic. You cannot play this without leaping around the room playing an imaginary bass guitar and doing the 'soul' backing vocals.
As Old As You're Young
Incredible. I could listen to the bass guitar all on its own. The intertwining guitars, keys and voices are sublime and the melody is gorgeous.
Memories of Old Days
Even the most die-hard TMP knockers like this so I don't need to say any more.
Could have come straight out of the recording sessions for TPatG or FH. Put an extended middle eight and a lengthy instrumental section in there and it would have been hailed as a classic.
One of the most powerful songs I've ever heard, by anyone, anytime. A straight 'A' classic Gentle Giant rock song.
I know it's not as 'deep' as preceding albums. I know that the songs are kept short and (relatively) simple thanks to the commercial pressures of the times. I know that, in a perfect world, the wonderful musical themes in evidence on the album would have been developed further and turned into more acceptable 5-7 minute 'classic' arrangements. However, what there is is what we've got and it's one of the most enjoyable ways of spending 36 minutes 36 seconds I can think of.
- Simon Brader
19 June 1999