Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste (Mercury, 1971)

The English troubadours and minstrels of the umphteenth degree couldn't have heard their own fantastic nightmares of bliss and domination. So let the 1970's prog rockers in, they have been waiting for five hundred years. They just needed someone to teach them heavy blues licks and introduce them to the melotron, that's all.

Hither come Gentle Giant and their 1971 album “Acquiring the Taste”. This second album of the quintessential British progressive rock group found themselves in depths of the wolves den. And willing as they were to go there, Gentle Giant abandoned the blues and soul drivin' sound of their previous album. This was a common transition for English groups of the late 60's and early 70's. They realized that no matter how hard they tried to sound like the coolest southern black man from the bayou, they were still pale, penny loafing and quite too proper. “Acquiring the Taste” is an amazing album. To try and sum up the sound, if you are not familiar with Gentle Giant, there is gloomy chamber chanting cut off by heavy rock riffs while the ever looming melotron cast a shadow of Imperial sounding British horns that dive behind spiny harpsichord taps or Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull directed a love scene where Sabbath and ELO make elegant gestures toward one another without touching. Hmmm, well here is an excerpt from the liner notes of the album. It is their declaration into departure.

"...It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste."

--Sean Dail

Acquire the Taste Here

Or: Acquiring the Taste - Gentle Giant

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