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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 1008 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Anyone hungry for an apple? Hmmm...no, me neither.

Much of this album, starting from that impossible-to-miss cover and somewhat arrogant mission statement, seems to be seeking attention. Not so much the low-self-esteem type, but more that I've-got-the-goods and you just can't help but notice variety.

I suppose if you're setting out to create unique music, why not go all out? Gentle Giant seem to have accomplished their mission, yet in so doing fall just short of creating a masterpiece. That said, there is plenty to taste with this album.

First of all, just a look at the instrument list screams progressive rock. If that looks like variety, then the music is even more varied than that. I'm not sure where the donkey's jawbone comes into play, but I'm sure they played it on par with Samson himself. Some of this variety, such as in Edge of Twilight, is so subtle, and I have to crank up my volume past normal levels just to hear some of the intricacy. It's really amazing how much they put into this album, particularly considering the year: 1971. Tons of different keys, lots of multipart vocal harmonies, plenty of guitar texture, and even a judicious sampling of strings, winds, horns and percussive instruments. It's not all great, but I respect them the effort put into it.

Highlights for me are Pantagruel, Twilight, Wreck and House (Plain Truth is also a nice, straightforward rocker, but probably not on par with these others). Pantagruel is just great prog, moving between dreamy and heavy, with great melodies and story. Twilight is so spacey and...well...different that I usually pick up something new to enjoy each time through. House is one of my favorite rockers by the Giant: the attitude during the instrumental break is almost palpable, and it's so strangely counterbalanced by the noodling. Just great pieces, all of them.

Overall, Acquiring the Taste is without a doubt a fun, creative and certainly challenging album. Pantagruel and House rank in my top ten Gentle Giant tracks, and this probably enabled the band to continue their anti-establishment leanings. Fortunately for all of us proggers, these leanings often led to unique musical treasures.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |

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