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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 956 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pafnutij
4 stars This was a very pleasant surprise, as what is frequently regarded as a "transitional" album turned out to be quite possibly Gentle Giant's greatest, most consistent effort. "Acquiring the Taste" features superb compositions which easily overpower the occasional dull moments found on the album; hether any elements of what would become known as the "classic" GG sound still have to be refined holds significance only stylistically, with no effect whatsoever on the musical content.

The opener, "Pantagruel's Nativity", is probably the best track on the album (don't worry, the rest of "Acquiring the Taste" still has a whole lot to offer) A dark, ominous atmosphere reigns through most of the song, with eerie vocal sections and intricate, somewhat Black Sabbath-esque guitar riffing .

"Edge of Twilight" is guided by an interesting, quite awkward (to sing!) vocal melody over intriguing tonality changes. Like it's predecessor, it's dark and haunting, and almost equally good.

"The House, The Street, The Room" sees the band exploring their hard rock tendencies to great effect. The powerful riff driving the song once again wouldn't have been out of place in a Black Sabbath song, except that it's far more sophisticated than any of Tony Iommi's creations, with sweet classical interludes providing an ideal contrast . Further into the track, we hear Kerry Minear expanding the possibilities of the main riff by extending each note to a major chord (this is how it sounds to my inexperienced ears anyway) on the organ; the song concludes with a quiet, but characteristically chaotic instrumental outro.

The title cut is a short but stunning instrumental track, as the group serves up unexpected dissonances and lovely melodies side by side in what is one the boys' finest statements as composers.

"Wreck" has to be the weakest song on the album. For the most part, it's pretty standard blues rock (although of a more refined variety), and while there are nice classical interludes in between the straightforward verse parts providing some refreshment, I can't say it measures up to the rest of the record.

The album get back on track with"The Moon is Down"; GG's inherently complex compositional style, sweet vocal harmonies (albeit with slightly irritating "twists") and plentiful fantastic segments drawn from a variety of styles make this another standout.

GG's classically-orientated string section figures prominently on "Black Cat", supplying great melodies to the main motive and captivating dissonances during the typically weird-sounding section in the middle, the result being another strong musical statement.

The album ends on a hard rock-orientated note in the form of "Plain Truth", which does provide some great riffs, but pales a bit when compared to the album's highlights. Had there been less repetition and some trimming done to the impressive, but rather boring jam session , the track would've worked better, but it's still a solid addition to this outstanding album.

Drawing the conclusion, this is the best GG album I've heard so far, as it surpasses all of their other efforts that I'm familliar with from just about any point of view. In fact, it is this album that has made me a serious fan of the band.

4.5

Pafnutij | 4/5 |

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