As the gimmick cover suggests, Gentle Giant's 1978 studio album took things a little too far. Giant For A Day delivered straightforward rock that had little to offer either their progressive fans or any prospective new ones. A true dud, save for John Weathers's simple "Friends," the record is best left in the past. After a US tour in late 1977, the Giant went dormant for a while, eventually returning to Los Angeles in 1979 for a new recording. The band's final album, Civilian, was released by Columbia Records. Picking up where Missing Piece left off, the album puts the band back on standard, and gains an entirely new sonic edge thanks to former Abbey Road Studios guru Geoff Emerick's expert production. If you've ever wondered just what a producer does for a record, compare this with Giant's previous one! "Convenience (Clean and Easy)" opens, revealing a contemporary-sounding, high-energy rocker that's indicative of the rest of the album's consistency. "Number One" adopts a similar approach, with a big fat riff pacing the way. The band sound fantastic. Kerry Minnear's keyboards have found their place in the mix, on equal footing with the rest of the group. The transition between "All Through the Night" and "Shadows on the Street" reveals that the band still has its way with the notes, as they seamlessly slide from raucous to sublime. "Underground" and "I Am a Camera" use samples to punctuate their message, while "Inside Out" sports an entrancingly dark and sinister riff. The final track, "It's Not Imagination," is a testament to something Gentle Giant never failed to do: rock out. But as strong as this album was, it did not chart in America; and after one final tour, the Giant laid its head down for good: a decade and out. Tacked on to the end of the vinyl is a vocal snippet, declaring "That's all there is."
Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"