For almost a year before I got around to giving this album a fair try I was already a huge Gentle Giant fan, but had been put off buying The Missing Piece because of the preconception that it was the first bad Gentle Giant Album. Compared to all the Gentle Giant albums before it, including the also controversial Interview album, Missing Piece was the one for which I had heard the most negative things about.
I was finally convinced after hearing Missing Material played live on their incredible GG At The GG DVD and decided this simply couldn’t be as bad an album as the negative reputation it had may have suggested. After a few listens, acclimatising to all the various styles of music on offer it really grew on me. I can understand why people who love the band’s most complex and progressive work would dislike it, but I personally enjoy it a lot and would recommend new fans to at least give it a fair try.
In my own opinion I would not only go as far as to call it a good album; its pretty much a great album. Highlights include the powerful ‘For Nobody’ and the haunting ‘Memories of Old Days,’ but the whole album is of high quality; with great vocals, funky drumming and great musicianship all around.
It may be off-putting at first hearing Gentle Giant playing a punk song or adding a bit of pop into their sound, but firstly it can grow on you and secondly the band always tried new things so I don’t view it as anything more than a continuation of that same spirit of exploration that made their earlier work so enjoyable in the first place.
Overall, as Prog albums go its a decent one, although perhaps not as progressive as you may expect from this band in particular. As accessible albums by Prog bands go however, it is first class. If you are new to the band maybe try out a few more critically acclaimed albums first, but if you like Gentle Giant I recommend that you don’t be put off and consider adding The Missing Piece to your Gentle Giant Collection.