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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 986 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Taste: Acquired

Boasting a bizarre and somewhat disturbing picture and the name Gentle Giant on the cover this is an album which has likely put off and turned on many buyers over the years. Those who know the band for their intense experimentation with music and harmonies are likely to be drawn to this album at the mere sight of it while more innocent listeners might be turned away. For the latter half of the people in the former sentence (of which I was one once) I say only this: fear not! For this album is excellent! No doubt that the Giant will always be an acquired taste (as the title would suggest) and stepping into their music without the right expectations may leave your head spinning, so if you're new to the band, make sure you find something that you really like about them before passing judgment. For some that thing may never be found, but in general there's something to like for everyone.

This particular album stands out in the Gentle Giant catalog for many reasons. Since it's so close to the beginning of their career they're still trying to do something waaay out there (and they always would, but here in particular it seems). This album is far and away from their very blues oriented debut, and this one is highly progressive in a traditional sense, with that Gentle Giant experimental twist, but of course. The songs are fairly long on the album, meaning that the songs get a chance to develop, but unlike their first album, the long songs are a sonic bombardment instead of drawn out, quiet songs. While a silent moment does split the final song, Plain Truth, its incredibly fast and heavy opening and closing still make it into one of the biggest standouts on the album, the moment of silence only adds to it. The opening Pantagruel's Nativity is another longer piece and another incredible standout thanks to it's delicate voicing and emotional guitar riff which is repeated for added effect. Even this one piece (the guitar riff) is a catchy enough hook to make you want more immediately off the first listen, and that's something not a lot of bands are able to do. The aggressive The House, The Street, The Room is the other longer piece on the album, this one more in the way we're used to by Giant, but simply heavier.

The shorter songs on the album are absolutely great. The Edge Of Twilight is a slower, more quiet song that makes use of some great voice effects that make for a very haunting song (as the title would suggest). Wreck is a truly sea-worthy song with it's melodies and tale of sunken ships - a very malicious and excellent tune. The Moon Is Down is another soft song which doesn't really have anything going for it - that is until the amazing sax solo nearing the end which makes it likely the best short song on the album.

This was the first Gentle Giant album to really pique my interest in the band, as it is strangely accessible. Experimental enough to be incredibly interesting, but not so much to be pretentious, melodic enough to make you want to come back for more, yet complex enough that with every listen it becomes more and more fascinating. Still, their ways are strange, and you might want to be expecting that if you're a newcomer to the band. As for the rating, this one is going to have to get 4 lickable peaches (I'm pretty sure that's what that is...) out of 5. Recommended for anyone looking to get into the band, and anyone who already knows how good they are but doesn't have this album yet.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |

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