This was a departure from the blues and soul styles found on their self-titled debut. It was more experimental, more discordant, and with more varied instrumentation. In the sleeve text, the band made this famous declaration:
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.
Most versions of this album (both LP and CD) have a mastering defect at the beginning of the title track. The first two notes of the synthesizer are heard at the wrong pitch before the correct pitch stabilizes. This error was probably caused by an analog tape recorder coming up to speed. The correct version of this track can be found on the remastered 2 CD Gentle Giant collection titled The Edge of Twilight released in the UK in 1996 as well as the original UK Vertigo (swirl and spaceship) label vinyl pressings.
The album cover has some innuendo in that it is made to look like a tongue licking an anus. However, when opened completely, it is actually a tongue licking a peach. In 2005, it was featured in Pitchfork Media's list of "The Worst Record Covers of All Time." At 39 minutes and 26 seconds, it is the longest studio album the group has ever released.