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Old 09-09-2008, 08:04 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Fantastic reviews. I have 6 albums by King Crimson. I do tend to agree with the general consensus that In The Wake Of Poseidon tends to follow the template of In The Court but I have no complaints.

I have heard nothing after Discipline for some unknown reason as I consider that to be a brilliant album and their best after their debut. I have looked at a few discography's and there seems to be a huge amount of live albums.
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Old 10-26-2008, 02:03 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Love the review, short and to the point and it's obvious a lot of effort has gone into it.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:02 PM   #33 (permalink)
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The first Crimson release is incredible. Definitely one of the first truly Prog Rock albums with all the requisite pomp and circumstance. Great songs like Epitaph and Moonchild will twist your head around multiple times. Lots of Sgt.Pepper-ish sound effects, taking what the Fab 4 started in '67 to new territory and laying the groundwork for other greats like Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant and can be heard in Porcupine Tree, Radiohead and other modern art rock bands. Classic stuff!

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Old 01-31-2009, 11:44 PM   #34 (permalink)
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ISLANDS (1971)
  • Robert Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron, Other
  • Boz Burrell – Bass, Vocals
  • Ian Wallace – Drums, Percussion
  • Mel Collins – Saxophone, Flute, Mellotron
  • Keith Tippett - Piano
  • Robin Miller - Oboe
  • Mark Charig - Cornet
  • Harry Miller – Double Bass
  • Paulina Lucas – Soprano Vocals (Track 1)
  • Peter Sinfield - Lyrics




PROLOGUE

After reinventing their sound with Lizard, King Crimson lost their rhythm section and vocalist. For Islands, Ian Wallace was enlisted on drums and Boz Burrell on vocals. As the rhythm section was still lacking a member, Fripp taught Burrell how to play bass while the album was being written - I feel that his novice skills perhaps limited where KC could go with it although this isn't necessarily a bad thing as we see another dimension of the band here; Islands is worlds apart from Lizard. Where Lizard would present itself with avant-garde/jazz 'structures', Islands prefers to bask in meditative tranquillity.



TRACK-BY-TRACK

01 - Formentera Lady:
Formentera Lady begins the album with warm orchestral parts, lush flute and tinkling piano. It takes a while to get started and plods on with the same steady bassline once it does. The second half features some tasteful instrumental work and haunting guest vocals from Paula Lucas. With this song first emerges the common theme of love, and in this case, it's romantic love backed by a fervent and halcyon atmosphere.

02 - Sailor's Tale:
With its vigorous rhythm, jazz-rock template and jam section, Sailor's Tale is probably the song which most closely resembles their earlier works. It has quite a cool buildup featuring awesome guitarwork from Fripp and angry sax from Collins, followed by some utterly bizarre and aggressive rhythm guitar. The extended jamming does grow a bit tedious towards the end and is better executed on earlier/later albums but nevertheless, this isn't a bad song.

03 - The Letters:
The Letters portrays dishonest love through a story of a woman committing suicide after discovering her husband cheated on her. To be honest, I don't much like this song... some of the lyrics coupled with Burrell's vocal delivery are cringe-worthy and the song as a whole is overblown with a directionless jam in the middle.

04 - Ladies of the Road:
Ladies of the Road is a highlight of the album and its underlying theme is promiscuous love - it's a fun song about groupies and the lyrics are hilariously sleazy and lecherous. Who would have expected King Crimson to come up with a verse like "High diving Chinese trender. Black hair and black suspender Said "Please me no surrender. Just love to feel your Fender" and then follow it up with a nonchalant sounding Beatlesesque chorus? Anyhow, as such, Fripp offers some funky blues licks on guitar and Collins' sax is monstrously raunchy.

05 - Prelude: Song of the Gulls:
This prelude to Islands is a full blown dive into classical territory written for woodwind and strings. It is simple but elegant in its serenity, very pure and harmonious. Some say it doesn't fit in, but I wholeheartedly disagree... there couldn't be a better way to pave the path from Ladies of the Road to Islands.

06 - Islands
The self-titled track is a great way to close the album and is quite reminiscent of post-rock (long before Spirit of Eden too). Islands I believe represents the universal form of love; not love which is merely between two people, but the collective love of all things in the world. The first two verses paint a somewhat doleful picture of a lonely solitary island, embellished by flourishes of piano, woodwind and sparse brass. The chorus indicates that despite appearing disjointed, the islands are really all connected together as one. Like Formentera Lady, Islands takes a little while to develop; it's as if the third and last verse is the realisation of connectedness and it is around there at the 5 minute mark that the song really picks up. The second half (ignoring the band outro) is truly glorious and uplifting with some splendid brass instrumentation absolutely free of any inhibition. This culminates the album on a high and it leaves you in a state of complete peace with the knowledge that all is good in the world.



EPILOGUE

Islands is yet another album which falls victim to being overlooked and written off, even by fans. And the King Crimson fanbase can be hard to please - on one hand they would complain that In the Wake of Poseidon is too much like its predecessor, and on the other, they would bemoan the fact that Islands is a departure from everything before it, not just in terms of branches of experimentation but general aesthetics. If you listen to this album without prior expectations, you'll find some gems.

Overall I consider Islands a mixed bag. The first half with the somewhat protracted but otherwise pleasant Formentera Lady, the semi-decent Sailor's Tale and poor effort of the Letters, is a bit lackluster and unengaging. However, the second half is hard to fault as it explores ideas pristine to KC and explores them well. Islands is certainly one of the great King Crimson pieces.

My advice is to check out King Crimson's other 70s output before Islands. And if you do check out Islands, approach it with an open mind lest you might unfairly dismiss it, because it is a mostly good album.

7.5/10
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:52 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I think you're being far to harsh on Islands just as you were far to generous on In the Wake. I felt that Islands should have been released between In the Court and Lizard, it fits so well with their progression, sure it's a departure and sure it could have been so much better but it deserves at least an 8, either way great review.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:17 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I think you're being far to harsh on Islands just as you were far to generous on In the Wake. I felt that Islands should have been released between In the Court and Lizard, it fits so well with their progression, sure it's a departure and sure it could have been so much better but it deserves at least an 8, either way great review.
Damn straight. Islands was brilliant for what it was, and it stands alone in terms of how it sounds compared to what came before and what would come later. 8.5/10 for me personally.

Looking forward to the next review Seltz!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #37 (permalink)
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It's going to be a while until you get to Thrak, Starless And Bible Black, Three Of A Perfect Pair, and all of those albums. Personally Thrak was going into metal territory, as was Starless And Bible Black.
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:54 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Damn straight. Islands was brilliant for what it was, and it stands alone in terms of how it sounds compared to what came before and what would come later. 8.5/10 for me personally.

Looking forward to the next review Seltz!!
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I think you're being far to harsh on Islands just as you were far to generous on In the Wake. I felt that Islands should have been released between In the Court and Lizard, it fits so well with their progression, sure it's a departure and sure it could have been so much better but it deserves at least an 8, either way great review.
Ah but ITWOP wasn't tarnished by the Letters.

I do like Islands, I just think the first half could be stronger. I guess I can justify raising it to 7.5 given that it is quite a unique album by any standards.


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It's going to be a while until you get to Thrak, Starless And Bible Black, Three Of A Perfect Pair, and all of those albums. Personally Thrak was going into metal territory, as was Starless And Bible Black.
I'm quite keen to get onto reviewing Larks but work has been really drilling me lately so I haven't had the time. Though I finish in a week's time so those reviews could come more quickly than you expect.

I'm really looking forward to reviewing Red.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:54 PM   #39 (permalink)
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The Letters?

>_>

<_<

-_-

No such song exists on any King Crimson album! What crack have you been smoking
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:01 PM   #40 (permalink)
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The same crack that reminds me that the Clash did in fact make an album called Cut the Crap even if I'd prefer to ignore its existence.
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