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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 992 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

R-A-N-M-A
4 stars Acquiring the Taste is an eccentric album. The album carries jazz and psychedelic influences as a whole, but it's hard to nail this album down into one single category; hence the eclectic prog thing. If I could use one word to describe the atmosphere of Acquiring the Taste it would be mysterious. Plenty of soft vocal harmonies, ethereal guitars, puzzling lyrics, a dazzling array of unconventional instruments and playing styles make for an other worldly experience. Gentle Giant can be hard to penetrate at times, but if you are willing to sit down and give Acquiring the Taste the attention it deserves I thing you'll be rewarded by an unique musical experience which will hopefully have you wanting more.

Pantagruel's Nativity and Edge of Twilight are the two leading tracks, both fit the general description of a constantly changing "psychedelic mystery jazz." No choruses here, no rocking out. Plenty of instrumental work spliced in between some of the gentlest singing this side of Jon Anderson. Skipping ahead a little bit is the short Keyboard instrumental. It belongs in this crowd. It only manages to stay focused likely because it was too short to support a drastic mood shift.

Preceding the track Acquiring the Taste is The House, The Street, The Room. I separate it from the rest of the forerunners because it is distinctly bluesy-er. It doesn't go as far as the next track but it has a few rough edges. It does still have some wacky instrumentation.

Wreck is the white sheep on an album full of black sheep. It is an exceptional hard rock song. It is indelibly the work of Gentle Giant however. I highly recommend this track to progressive rock fans, but it easily bridges the gap towards the more conventional sound. (Crossover Hard Rock?)

The Moon is Down returns us to the psychedelic motifs. I feel like I should be sitting in an eggshell chair wearing Austin Powers' get up when I listen to the first half. Around the midpoint things get a little livelier. The tempo quickens the mist lifts a little and a groovy keyboard led psychedelic jam session ensues only to be dragged heavily back down. This is one of the best tracks on the album.

Black Cat is highly evocative of the titular feline; silken and smooth and punctuated with the staccato cat moving deftly about. This too is a highlight of Acquiring the Taste.

The close of the album brings us back to the hard rock of Wreck. Plain Truth isn't quite as conventional in sound, but it's chorus like is easy to get behind. Plain Truth is the longest Track on the album, as a result Gentle Giant as plenty of room to experiment. Following the harder rocking into is soft jazzy jamming which culminates in a triumphant return to hard rock by about the three quarter mark. The last minute of the album is devoted to a warbling guitar solo.

Acquiring the Taste is not a hard rocking party album, some parts of it might qualify if you going to a fairly chic affair. This album doesn't really stay in one place for too long though. It is sophisticated and deserves to be given your concentration. You will not be disappointed. I give it an easy four stars out of five. Maybe even four and a half but that doesn't exist here at PA.

R-A-N-M-A | 4/5 |

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