Acquiring the Taste. Product details Product Dimensions : Soulfood Label : Alucard Publishing Ltd. Customer reviews. How are ratings calculated? Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Customer images. See all customer images. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from United Kingdom. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. Most commentators will laud and praise Three Friends as the Giant's best album on its musical and artistic merits, and this remastered version allows you to get closer than ever to the weird circus of twisty, turny sounds and rhythms they use to project their visions of progressive psychedlia.
Added to this, you also get Octopus, a different kind of album, of shorter, more commercially-oriented tracks Both deserve places in the Rock Hall of Everlasting Fame in my view, though that is a very crowded hall due to all their other albums those they released on the Vertigo label, anyway taking up a lot of high positions.
I like the distorted organs and the wah-wah'd guitars. Just when I'm about to give up on the album and droop from the seemingly endless jams, though, in comes the harmony- and-organ laden conclusion, the glorious title track.
THERE's the bizarre dose of atmospheric catharsis that I'd been waiting for since, er, "Schooldays" hey, give me a break, I got spoiled on the first two albums!
In short, the album almost seems like a bit of a tossoff to me, but I don't mean that in a bad way - parts are brilliant, parts are alright, but overall it doesn't seem like the band spent an inordinate amount of time going over and "inaccessible"-izing every second of the album.
That it's a slight tossoff is not a bad thing, though - it just means that the album's quite good, not much more, nothing less. I'll be brief this time out. Considering we are talking about one of prog's more beloved bands and the time period being magic hour , I feel almost guilty for not respecting one of the masters.
And I truly don't here. The concept is an interesting one that would normally be right up my alley and the lyrics are quite good. But the execution is really dreadful. The music sounds uninspired quite often and the solos fail in a contrived fashion, especially that laughably overblown "Peel the Paint" guitar solo, which probably tops my list of the most glaringly unfulfilling rock showcases.
But the biggest problem is that none of these tracks move me in the least, which would not be true of the next album, the far better "Octopus. I'm with Ken Levine here that most of this album is truly mediocre, until we get to the tail end of "Mr. Class and Quality? Same with the short closing title track which continues the same very pleasant melodic theme, nice atmospheric keys over a repeating riff. It pains me to poop on a classic, but what can you do?
Some people diss The Wall or Topographic Oceans. This album is my diss-worthy classic. Thankfully Octopus was next which was so much more impressive than this one. Don't be alarmed though: the band didn't sell off! The jazzy feel is well present; the amazing vocal style is definitively there. Some Crimson filiation is even noticeable during the opening act "Prologue" which is a perfect summary of all these characteristic and therefore the archetype of GG's music.
After another typical GG track "School Days" which is more difficult to get into, a heavier "Working All Day" combines the traditional polyphony style and a dark mood including lyrics. Heavy organ and sax during the middle part are quite close from Van Der Graaf. The mix of classical and jazz passages opens "Peel The Paint" which again evolves towards a quite conventional GG song whatever it may mean : complex and difficult to apprehend for non die-hard fans as I am.
In all, this is a good GG album which leans on the jazzy style almost all the way through. The closing and title track features some nice instrumental parts of which keyboards are very good. It was my second purchase from this band. To be honest, I don't play it quite often. Still, three stars. The album starts with the perfectly proggy Prologue. There is nothing to complain about on this track at all.
This song is also the first instance of Gentle Giant using a cappella singing, a device that would make songs like Knots and On Reflection the classics they are.
The playing is all very technical, just as it should be on this mainly instrumental track. Schooldays is the most serious track on the album. Quite seriously epic too. The first three minutes are light and fluffy with fun lyrics about schooldays.
The arrangements are quite complex but don't take away from the song at all. Then at about three minutes, the mood completely changes, and the song takes a very sombre turn.
I certainly wasn't expecting this, and some of the lyrics are very haunting: Mister Watson wants to see you in the master's room. It's about the work you should have done and I think you must go now. Afterwards, the song returns to normal, but leaves you quite disturbed. Working All Day runs the risk of sounding like Wreck off the last album.
I think it just pulls it off though. While the verses are nothing to shout about, the instrumental is quite good; the music builds up slowly to a fully fledged virtuoso keyboard solo. For me, the best song on the album is Peel The Paint.
The song beginds quietly, and you can hear tension being built, even in the supposedly serene instrumental sections. Then all of a sudden, at , the song explodes into something completely different altogether. Much like Van Der Graaf Generator's Man-Erg this louder part of the song symbolises the evil side of the character in the song. Gary Green has delivered a fantastic guitar solo on the first two alubms, and he's not about to stop now.
The guitar solo on this song, accompanied by Malcolm Mortimore's rock'n'roll drumming is the highlight of the album for me. The instrumental shows a lot of creativity, and this is an incredibly fun song. The album finishes with Three Friends , which is basically an epilogue to the story. The complex melody essentially repeats itself until fade, which is a bit uncreative, but it is quite an epic sound.
Had this not been a concept album, I would have given this 4 stars or 8. This is one of my favourite concept albums. From a purely storytelling perspective, the album is let down very slightly by the fact that the group don't really have that much to say about these three friends; a six-minute prologue and a seven-minute song about the kids at school is around twice as much time as really needed to be dedicated to the introductory phase of the concept though Schooldays does have some fantastic harmonies.
However, musically speaking the album is as much of a treat as any other early Gentle Giant release. The plodding, heavy Working All Day had been one of my least favourite Gentle Giant tracks, but over time I've found myself getting more fond of the song, particularly when it comes to Kerry Minnear's dirty-ass organ solo on it. Generally, early CD releases seem to have suffered from a less-than-stellar mix; recent remasters such as the one on the Unburied Treasure boxed set really help you note the subtleties of the music here.
In the middle, vocal bursts introduce the concept and there is an interesting organ, bass and synth break. Strangely, the piece fades out in an "end of album" kind of way. The vocals are equally adventurous here, pushing syllables to their rhythmic limits.
A problem with this album's production is that, on occasion, the various instruments sound like they are all being played in tiny boxes, very separate from each other, and this is none more apparent than on 'Schooldays'. By contrast, the graceful bridge section has too much reverb! The middle of this album is the weakest, if only for a lack of anything substantial. None of the good melodies hang around for long enough, and chords I'm not even sure if there are any!
Three Friends ends on a high though, with 'Mister Class and Quality? Here the lyrics are at their most profound, and the interruptions from various themes new and old make for a great thrill-ride as we hurtle towards the album's climax, after barely half an hour of music. I'm not even sure how these last two songs are divided, because at the point where my CD version changes to track six, we are then treated to the final verse of track five. The whole thing ends with a Led Zeppelin- esque riff cycle, accentuated beautifully by layers of Mellotron.
This album tells the story of my step-father, my brother, and me, being a dead-end worker, a white collar middle manager, and a failing artist respectively. It is a winner of a concept for being so accurate. Apart from that, this is another cracking album from Gentle Giant. Short but sweet. The band's third album was their first to really exploit what would soon become the traditional Gentle Giant sound, as if anything so eclectic could be at all bound to tradition.
From the first urgent notes of the six-minute "Prologue" the group is on comfortable ground, thanks in part to the addition of new drummer Malcolm Mortimer. He was hardly involved long enough to even be considered a part of the band, but Mortimer deserves some credit for keeping the overachieving Shulman brothers on a tighter leash than usual with his admirably unfussy drumming.
This was Mortimer's only album with the band, but his efforts underlined that emerging Gentle Giant groove more naturally than his predecessor Martin Smith, although without the rock-solid backbeat later provided by J. It helped that the rest of the group was likewise settling into their roles, and beginning to carve a genuine style from the everything- but-the-kitchen-sink overkill of their first two albums. Side Two of the album is particularly strong, arguably the best single side of vinyl in the Gentle Giant discography.
The production is typically thin, with the rhythm section pushed too far in the background: business as usual in a recording studio circa Better albums were just over the horizon, but this was pardon the expression a Giant step in the right direction for an ambitious group just beginning to hit its stride. The piece that has the best chance at making prog fans rave and drool would have to be the opening ''Prologue''; mostly instrumental, soundly structured without getting too carried away with melodies and the fantastic build-up in the middle with the synth lines, it's almost pure gold.
The rest of the album not already described is louder aside from the country influenced ''Mister Class and Quality'' think Kerry Livgren really took a lot of influence from this one? One audio tech problem isn't too obstructing, but the fact that Gentle Giant's best two albums are right around the corner makes me a little passive in my rating.
The concept is based around the theme of three childhood friends and how their lives inevitably separate, lead unsatisfying lives and then finally reunite to collaborate their efforts. One goes into manual labor, one into clerical work and the other becomes an artist. I have to admit that it took me a while to even realize this was a concept album as I am usually more interested in the musical composition than the lyrics.
The vocal harmonies are top notch as always, the melodies are strong but this album starts off a little slow and it seems like it takes half the album to get warmed up before it develops into something truly interesting and then it ends too soon making this my least favorite album of the first seven essentials.
That being said, a 2nd tier Gentle Giant is still a phenomenal album that warrants a deserving place on any fan's shelf space. With a theme of this sort it may have actually proven more convincing to make a double album since the events that would encompass the lives of three individuals seem like they would need a lot more time dedicated even if brushed over superficially.
The longer tracks seem to spend a little too much time "breathing" and could either have used some embellishment or some trimming down. An overall great attempt with a very strong side two and if this band didn't have so many masterpieces surrounding this one I would probably be more impressed. However don't let the perfect be the enemy of the very good in this case.
As it so happened, I never gave up and eventually downloaded 'Alucard' from their debut from iTunes. That song captured me and soon I was looking at the reviews of their albums. I ordered it and sunk my ears into this concoction of Gentle Giant's. Surprisingly, I found the album to be quite listenable. It's actually not as weird as some of what I had heard I now have 'Acquiring the Taste' as well and that's more bizarre at times.
The prologue is a pretty decent rock song with a strong progressive vibe, featuring some of their unique vocal arrangements but in an easy to follow way.
The three main story songs about the three friends are also very good, in my opinion. The beginning is cautious and suspenseful as we see the artist painting. There are some lovely violins to add class. However, the second part of the song turns into a heavy rocker with Kerry Minear delivering a husky, gravel-voiced rock vocal as the lyrics turn to the darker side of the artist's life.
There's a guitar and drum duet that is simply calls for wringing the air with an air guitar performance by the listener. It reminds me of the battle between the two wizards guitar and drums on Uriah Heep's 'The Magician's Birthday'. Wonderful stuff.
Though the strained guitar notes get replaced by milder effects the song by no means lays low. It concludes with more of Kerry and a dramatic closure of guitar, sax, bass, drums, and organ.
The only real weird part on the album I feel is 'Schooldays' which includes some of GG's more adventurous vocal works and features a shaky performance by young Calvin Shulman, the son of one of the Shulman brothers. The boy was nervous claim the CD liner notes and it shows. But if I were recording an album and needed a boy's voice I am sure I would ask my son too. The music here is bold and vigorous but not as experimental as on some of their other albums.
As such, this is an easy album to enjoy and a safe stepping stone to access the band. It still has the band showing off their skill though. As I mentioned above, I also have 'Acquiring the Taste' which is a lot more off the beaten path. I'm tempted to buy 'Octopus' and maybe one or two albums more as there are a few here that are highly rated but I am not sure what to expect yet.
Definitely a good album but compared to some of GG's other more progressive works, I am not sure that it is exactly essential. But I still feel it has enough highlights to make it better than just good.
This marked the first attempt of the band on a concept album, talking about three close friends, each takes his own lifepath after growing. However, unstatisfied with their lives, they decided to rejoin forces and focus on their goals in a more collaborative way. Musically this is some sort of a backfall compared to the previous release, of course this is still a fantastic GG experience, which however lacks deep inspiration at specific moments. A collection of orchestral, rural and jazzy spices with complicated breaks and intense singing harmonies, sounding maybe a bit Avant-Garde during the piano and Mellotron parts and rather soft for the rest of its length.
Still there is so much going on in here. The closing title-track is a masterpiece to say the least with the classic GG sound of muddy electric guitar work over orchestral strings, highlighted by the Gospel-influenced vocals of the members and the lovely rhythm from the start to the very end. One of Gentle Giant's uneven efforts during their early career, containing both amazing and simply decent pieces.
But even so, their sound was so professional, rich and inventive few groups could top it only Italians Premiata Forneria Marconi come to mind. Strongly recommended for all fans of Prog Rock, intricated by the tempo, the atmosphere and the instrumental depth changes This sort of thing happens all the time.
As a prog rock band's career gradually develops, they almost surely become more ambitious, more self-confident in the extent of their abilities. As a result, there's a tendency for bands' output to get more daring and complex as time goes on. As you might reasonably conclude, there's almost always the point in the trajectory where a band finally hits the ceiling of ambition, resulting in an opus may very well polarize its audiences for how far it takes it.
When a band reaches that maximized ambition and there's no further they can go, they can either attempt to keep the peak going which rarely succeeds or else reinvent themselves in some way. Most of the time, this results in a band reeling back aspects of their sound. The best example of this was the shift between Yes ' ridiculously expansive Tales from Topographic Oceans and its relatively grounded successor Going for the One.
Anyone looking for modern equivalents in prog might look to Pain of Salvation 's half-successful reinvention with Scarsick after BE , or the straightforward mentality Dream Theater adopted with Train of Thought , after they'd reached their progressive potential with the two records prior. I wouldn't dare to say that Acquiring the Taste is the most outlandishly ambitious record of Gentle Giant 's career, but considering how wacky it was compared to most of the progressive rock coming out those days, it's easy to see why that may have been thought to be the case.
Three Friends provides the same reeled-back function in the band's career as Going for the One , maintaining their style in a scaled- back setting. USA cover; same as the cover of Gentle Giant. European cover, back side. Kerry Minnear - keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, Moog, vocals. Ray Shulman - bass, violin, 12 string guitar, vocals.
Amazon Payment Products. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. The album title and band name were added over the forehead of the giant image and the colour tinting of the cover was changed. On this version track number 5 ends early at instead of while incorrectly extending the length of track six from to This mistake has also carried over to online digital music distributors such as iTunes and Spotify.
It has since been corrected. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bob April 14, at pm. RC2 November 22, at am. Adrian Horn October 3, at am. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.Track list: - 1. Prologue - 2. Schooldays - 3. Working All Day - 4. Peel the Paint - 5. Mister Class and Quality? - 6. Th.