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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.28 | 1705 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars With this album many people acquire their taste for that signature Gentle Giant sound. A sound that blends genres like there's no tomorrow, with a constant alteration between thick and thin, loud and quiet, major and minor. Tasty, indeed.

The number of instruments used on this record is close to the number in a medium-sized orchestra. They are not used by mere amateurs. Integral parts of the compositions are played on orchestral, exotic and synthesized instruments in addition to those found in any rock band, often playing short interludes and switching between each other. The resulting music has some of the widest range of timbres you will ever hear in one place. Compositionally, it is also very expansive, incorporating simple melodies into various themes with differences in rhythm or pitch; some are blues riffs, others medieval chants, others jazzy melodies. The band are able to filter all this into succinct and interesting songs that are progressive but surprisingly accessible.

'Pantagruel's Nativity' kicks off the album with a laid back, cool feel. Simple vocals are accompanied by mellotron chords and licks of flute and trumpet, before sharp guitar riffs lead into Gregorian chant-like harmonies. A vibraphone solo with sax backing makes way for more guitar, and the sections are then reversed. This is an example of the seemingly chaotic styles that adhere this album, but the song is so easy to listen to, and rather groovy too. Other highlights for me include 'The House, The Street, The Room', which has similar juxtapositions of rock and baroque, and 'Wreck', a folk-rock exploitation of the sea-shanty with a tune that most radio stations would welcome. 'Plain Truth' is also a great funky closer, with electric violin playing blues licks.

Gentle Giant's music is not simple by any means, but it is one of the best examples of succinct and clever blending of styles on this entire website. The compositions are tight and in control, but with enough room for improvisation. The band's lack of mainstream success says a lot about the general public's taste..... acquired or otherwise.

thehallway | 5/5 |


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