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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 978 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Impressed by the good impression that "Three Friends" made on me after years of being unable to understand what people see on this band, got "Acquiring the Taste", the other GENTLE GIANT release I was missing, placed it on my car's CD Player with great hope, but even when I don't believe it's remotely as good as the next album, has some great tracks.

In a couple of songs from their second release, GENTLE GIANT abuses of the excessive complexity with little melodic support and tries endless "variations on the same themes" that after two or three repetitions bores me, no matter how many different arrangements they make, the central theme seems too limited to repeat it so many times.

"Pantagruel's Nativity" starts promising, with a beautiful introduction that leads to a delightful melody with very interesting vocals, for a couple of minutes this is enough to keep my interest specially for the use of wind instruments and a distorted guitar section, but then, they come over and over to the same theme with some variations, but the lack of energy and the monotonous melody makes me want to skip to the next song to see if the seeds of "Three Friends" can be found in this album.

With great hope I start listening "Edge of Twilight", sadly I can't say anything better than in the previous track, again the song seems lack of enthusiasm, what makes it boring, yes, it's obvious all the members of the band are very skilled and the music is well elaborate from a technical perspective, but the guys seem to play by inertia, and never transmit any form of energy.

"The House, The Street, The Room" starts mysterious and a bit haunting, but at last I find some intention of transmitting something to the audience, the Baroque instrumental sections are rich and interesting, while the vocal and choirs are impeccable, even the weird parts make sense in the context of the song, and the guitar is simply outstanding...A very high point.

When I read the name "Acquiring the Taste" I believed that the title song had to be one of the best.....I believe I was wrong, this short interlude with Medieval atmosphere has no head or feet, hank God it only lasts 1:40 minutes and is followed by the good "Wreck", again the band shows enthusiasm and a good balance between melody an experimentation, the vocal works and the violin are just perfect, yes it's dissonant, but it's coherent and the instrumental passages are explosive, another good moment.

The first half of "The Moon is Down" is so repetitive that I was ready to press the skip button, but suddenly the Jazzy instrumental begins and we are fore a different reality, the perfect musical sense, rational changes and the unpredictable structure make of this song worth to listen.

"Black Cat" reminds me of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA (at least during the intro), a good reason to follow it with interest, when the vocals enter seems like it will be another repetitive and boring song, but I'm wrong, I must say it's not my cup of tea because again they lost me in the complexity of the track, but at least they are not boring, the violin saves the song.

The album is closed by the best song, "Plain Truth" sounds like a fusion of JEAN-LUC PONTY and VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR with Blues and a touch of Hard Rock, the fluid violin based Jazz sections and the energy similar to Hammill and company are blended with great skills, despite both styles could seem contradictory, something only excellent musicians can do. This guys saved the excellent material for the end.

As I said on the review I made of "Three Friends", will never be a fan of GENTLE GIANT, because their music doesn't make produce the same emotion I feel with other bands, but I can't do less than admire the skills of this members or deny I enjoyed most of this album.

Now, it's not easy to rate this album, because despite some songs are brilliant, others make me want to turn off the stereo, despite this facts, I believe "Acquiring the Taste" is above the average, but not enough for 4 stars, so I will have to go with 3 that would be 3.5 if the system allowed it.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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