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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 1009 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars I acquired this album only after becoming exceedingly familiar with the band's more heralded works, and I played it after a long, unexplainable period of not indulging in any Gentle Giant. Upon removing the cellophane wrapper and playing it, a weird wave of nostalgia washed over me. Certainly, this album is not as polished as later releases, nor is it quite as powerful as my personal favorite albums in lyric or in music, but that doesn't mean I think any less of this reminder of a happy and wonderfully progressive band.

"Pantagruel's Nativity" Hearing this first song was like hearing from an old friend, as Kerry Minnear's soft vocal penetrates the opening synthesizer and riff. It's contrast with Derek Shulman's heavy, downward vocal bends is not as stark as it would be on future albums, but I think I like that just as much. The acoustic guitar and trumpet are a key, if subtle component to the sound.

"Edge Of Twilight" The panning harpsichord and gorgeous sounds that spiral in and out gave me complete pause the first time I heard it. It is followed by a slightly avant-garde battering of percussion, with timpani, snare rolls, and xylophone. The breathing waves of sound over Minnear's voice lend to the pleasing atmosphere.

"The House, The Street, The Room" Bass and piano begin this somewhat darker number. Shulman's boisterous voice, with a sharp reverb, shout the words just before Minnear slips in with a small line. I love the happy bass riff that follows. A weird brass section jumps in, and Gary Green breaks it up with a ripping guitar note followed by a rowdy, biting solo.

"Acquiring The Taste" The title track is a short, keyboard-based instrumental.

"Wreck" This song has a call and response verse, with the lead singer voicing one line and a primitive chorus crying out the wordless same answer. Minnear, as usual, represents the gentler side of Gentle Giant, singing rapid lines over a graceful harpsichord. Green follows a lovely flute and harpsichord interlude with a brief, wailing guitar part.

"The Moon Is Down" Lovely vocals ebb and flow like the tide. A great bass riff speeds up to usher in the instrumental section that features Phil Shulman's saxophone and some sprightly keyboard.

"Black Cat" I definitely love the bluesy main riff over which Minnear almost whispers over. The violin joins in at times, and Green's guitar just hangs out in the background, adding additional vibrancy to this exceptional track. A string section interrupts the flow of the piece, followed by another odd section laced with diverse percussion instruments. Plucked strings play the main riff while a gorgeous violin soars over it.

"Plain Truth" For the final song, the band puts together a moderate rocker, with Shulman singing a descending vocal melody and lots of guitar and violin interplay. It has something of a "prison blues" feeling in the middle, with Cajun-like violin in the middle (or what sounds like violin fed through some weird effects), which concludes Gentle Giant's second album alongside a raucous ending courtesy of drummer Martin Smith.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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