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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 964 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

russellk
Prog Reviewer
4 stars You can't go wrong with GENTLE GIANT in the early to mid 70s ... as long as you are prepared to tolerate playful experimentation, not all of which comes off.

'Acquiring The Taste' is GENTLE GIANT'S definitive musical statement. It's neither their best album nor my favourite of theirs, but it does set out their stall. 'Here we are,' they say, 'doing what we want to; and we don't care whether you like it or not.' A laudable attitude. However, many reviewers make it sound like GENTLE GIANT fare is all but indigestible. It's not. It is, in fact, fairly easy listening: simple tunes, a slightly baroque, pastoral feel, the use of diverse instruments inviting comparisons to a chamber orchestra, instrumental noodling, overlain with harmonising and sometimes dissonant vocal styling. Lovely. There's nothing as difficult or discordant here, for example, as you find with COMUS or HENRY COW - or anything involving MIKE PATTON.

GENTLE GIANT are one of those groups by which people measure themselves. Look at me, I'm clever enough to like this music, what a smart boy I am. Snobbish, in other words. You can see it in reviews of this and other GG albums - probably in this review too. It probably accounts for the abundance of 5-star ratings. But then we progressive folk are like that.

So ... is this album any good? Yes. 'Pantagruel's Nativity', 'Wreck', 'Black Cat' and 'Plain Truth' are straightforward 70s progressive rock, though at the upper end, demonstrating excellent compositional and performance skills. These songs have real hooks. There are some seriously good instrumental parts, especially the rhythm and wah-wah solo part central to 'The House, The Street, The Room'. The other tracks are more experimental, but still worth a listen. I note that STEVE HILLAGE must have had a good listen to 'Edge of Twilight', as he stole - sorry, sampled - the mid-song glissade for his SYSTEM 7 track 'Interstate'. This is typical: GENTLE GIANT has influenced a generation of music makers. SPOCK'S BEARD it the most obvious, but by no means the only, example.

Definitely a fresh sound, and not an acquired taste. All but the least experienced progressive listeners should be immediately rewarded by this album.

russellk | 4/5 |

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