The Missing Piece (recorded in the Netherlands and released in 1977) was a transitional album reflecting this new approach. While the second side featured longer and more eclectic songs reminiscent of the band's earlier work, the first side featured outright examples of pop-rock, blue-eyed soul and even an attempt at punk. Three singles ("Two Weeks in Spain", "Mountain Time" and "I'm Turning Around") were released from the album, but failed to become hits: the album itself performed disappointingly in the marketplace, failing to win new fans or find favour with the band's existing fanbase.
Despite this setback, the band pursued their course to its conclusion on 1978's Giant for a Day!. All progressive rock stylings were purged in favour of radio-friendly soft rock and further unsuccessful attempts at hit singles: in order to present a more straightforward group identity, Derek Shulman handled all lead vocals and the band abandoned their usual battery of string instruments, wind instruments, tuned percussion and vocal interplay in favour of a straightforward guitar/bass/keyboards/drums/lead singer arrangement. Giant for a Day! was another poor seller, later recognised by the band as a creative mistake. Derek Shulman eventually remembered it as being "real contrived'' while Kerry Minnear would confess to having felt unsure as to whether he had anything to contribute to the album (although he did make an attempt to write a commercial single, "It's Only Goodbye").
The Chrysalis years, part 3: Civilian
In 1979, Gentle Giant relocated their centre of operations to Los Angeles in order to record their eleventh album, Civilian. This was a record of short rock songs with a strong New Wave influence. While keeping the reduced instrumental approach of Giant for a Day!, the band allowed themselves far more freedom of arrangement and vocal work than they had for the previous album, and despite its relative simplicity the songwriting and execution were more reminiscent of earlier Gentle Giant work.