The band's second album is a major advance on its first, featuring superior singing, playing, and songwriting, as well as a more unified sound, without sacrificing the element of surprise in the first record. Many of the melodies and even the riffs here (check out Gary Green's first guitar flourish on "Pantagruel's Nativity") have a pretty high haunt count, and all of the musicianship displays an elegance seldom heard even in progressive circles -- but the record also, amazingly enough, rocks really hard as well. Elements of hard rock and Gregorian chants mix freely and, amazingly enough, well throughout this album.
by Bruce Eder ~ allmusic.com
Despite the rather Rolling Stones-ish album cover, 'Acquiring The Taste' saw Gentle Giant moving beyond anything familiar and conventional. After the first album's heavier adventures (still a prog album, and still one of their best), 'Acquiring The Taste' firmly established that G.G. was off on a trip of rock experimentation that wouldn't slow down until 1978 or so.
The wide variety of instrumentation, and they way the instruments are represented (through some really inventive studio work and a nice warm recording), immediately sets this album apart from its less layered predecessor. Adding to the wide spectrum of instrumentation, the variety of vocal approaches is also pleasing. The dark melancholy of "Black Cat" and the eerie "Edge Of Twilight" offer some of the album's more esoteric journeys. But it's "Pantagruel's Nativity" and especially "The House, The Street, The Room" that offer quintessential Gentle Giant. Myriad mood shifts, a variety of vocal textures, inventive arrangements, virtuoso musicians playing to the strength of the song, polyrhythms, unpredictability...all the band's treasured hallmarks are here. And the raw, guitar-centered aspects of their first album remain intact, as heard amidst "Wreck", "Pantagruel's Nativity" and "Plain Truth" (seriously ballsy, edgy violin by Ray Shulman on that last one!). Every song in its place, every one fascinating.
Still early in their development, Gentle Giant were already playing very mature, intelligent music. I even find it more enjoyable than some of their key mid-'70s albums. The songs flow smoother than some of their later compositions, and Derek Shulman's voice doesn't sound strained, as it often would on those later (still amazing) albums. 'Acquiring The Taste' may lack that certain "good enough to die for" element inherent in perfect 5-star albums, but it comes close enough.
by Slipperman ~ progarchives.com
1. Pantagruel's Nativity (6:50)
2. Edge Of Twilight (3:47)
3. The House, The Street, The Room (6:01)
4. Acquiring The Taste (1:36)
5. Wreck (4:36)
6. The Moon Is Down (4:45)
7. Black Cat (3:51)
8. Plain Truth (7:36)
Total Time: 39:01
Gary Green - 6 string guitar, 12 string guitar, 12 string wah-wah guitar, donkey's jawbone, cat calls, voice
Kerry Minnear - electric piano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, Moog, piano, celeste, clavichord, harpsichord, tympani, maracas, lead vocals
Derek Shulman - alto sax, clavichord, cowbell, lead vocals
Phil Shulman - alto & tenor sax, clarinet, trumpet, piano, claves, maracas, lead vocals
Ray Shulman - bass, violin, viola, electric violin, Spanish guitar, tambourine, 12 string guitar, organ bass pedals, skulls, vocals
Martin Smith - drums, tambourine, gongs, side drum
Assisted by Paul Cosh (trumpet, organ) and Tony Visconti (recorder, bass drum, triangle)
[ Rip and Scans by CrunchyFrog ]