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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

baz91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Gentle Giant's second album is the album that contained the famous liner notes on the inner gatefold. We have recorded each song with one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. is the motto found in the notes, a motto they used for most of their career. These words truly inspire me, and I believe anyone who sees themselves as a prog artist read these notes, for they are the formula for any good progressive music. Gentle Giant aren't just talking the talk though, all the songs here are definitely unique, adventurous and fascinating. Some songs are better than others though, and we shall see why.

The album starts with the symphonic Pantagruel's Nativity, a song based on Rabelais' story of giants. This track is very good, with quite complex parts, but it's a little bit slow, and not quite as gripping as Giant from the debut album or indeed The Advent of Panurge from 'Octopus' based on the same story.

The next song, Edge of Twilight, is a very creepy affair indeed. Strangely, it starts with the lyric The moon is down, which is the name of another track on the album. Just listen to the song and hear how creepy the chorus is, and the instrumental that follows. Not a bad song at all.

The House, The Street, The Room is the best track on the album for me. The verses are great, but the instrumental is simply astounding. Firstly there is a quiet section with many different instruments doing a little riff, and this is very complex indeed, and your not sure what to expect next. This crescendos into one of the best guitar solos in Gentle Giant history. Few bands understand the power of having an 'air guitar' moment in their song, but this song will have you shredding in no time. As an added bonus, the guitar solo is entirely in 6/4!

The title track, Acquiring the Taste is a short Moog instrumental. There is some exceptional playing going on here, but this track isn't really for me. On many CD editions, the first few seconds of this track are marred by an awkward pitch bend. Watch out for this!

Wreck shows that Gentle Giant were being serious when they said 'unique'. This song is basically a souped-up sea shanty! I pushed to enjoy this track, and eventually I found I quite liked this track, but the incessant yelling of Hey-yeah-yeah hold on! may be offputting to some. An interesting experiment indeed, but it's a good thing they didn't repeat it.

The Moon Is Down is a melancholy track, with some beautiful harmonies. The instrumental changes the track completely, with a faster pace and a lighter atmosphere. Certainly 'fascinating'! It's amazing to hear just how many sounds a single band can create!

Black Cat is a lot more fun. The verses are set over a very cool groove, and the atmosphere just feels perfect for the lyrics. The instrumental shows the band being unnecessarily complicated (which is a good thing), and playing perfectly in time with mostly string instruments. A neat song.

Plain Truth is a sprawling rock song mainly based around the electric violin. That's about all there is to this piece really. This song expressly showcases Phil Shulman's electric violin skills, which have to be admired. Otherwise, this piece is not particularly complex.

In my opinion, what Gentle Giant gained in complexity and creativity for this album, they lost also a little in entertainment. These songs are all great compositions, and masterpieces in their own right, but the collection does not live up to all the hype it seems to get. Still, just for tracks like The House, The Street, The Room, and to enjoy another slice of Gentle Giant's spectacular catalogue, I fully recommend this album.

baz91 | 4/5 |

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