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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2184 ratings

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2 stars Another King Crimson album from a piecemeal line-up that wouldn't even last weeks after it's release. Bobby Fripp takes the helm firmly with an iron fist utilizing a gaggle of available musicians. Amazingly none from the original group from just the year prior. One member, the lead singer/bassist, was Fripp's childhood friend who agreed to do Fripp a favor and join KC. Talk about desperation!

Lizard is an overwrought behemoth. It's one album where the pretentiousness is almost unbearable. Although there is some inspired playing and atmospheres, the problem is some of the tunes just meander with loads of horns just fighting for space. Like avant-garde jazz amid weak material. Gordon Haskell's vocals on Lizard are just awful. He is actually a very good singer but he is admittedly way out of his element here and some of the studio vocal treatments are irritating. The drummer, at Mr. Fripp's direction, executes rolling fills after rolling fills.

"Cirkus" being a bright spot does a great job with the lyrical metaphors and the music giving an eerie Circus-like imagery. Mel Collins sax solo over an ocean of mellotrons is particularly nice.

"Indoor Games" A lot of people don't like this one. I think its a fun song. Great jangly acoustic guitar and a decent "jam" in the middle.

"Happy Family" is a major dud. Supposedly about the break-up of the Beatles. Here we get the ugly and unnecessary effects-laden vocals. Pete Sinfield had a new toy, the VCS3, and was dying to play with it. The "jam" in the middle of this is all over the place.

"Lady Of The Dancing Water" is a soft delicate song in the vein of "Cadence and Cascade but nowhere near as good. Forgettable.

"Lizard" is a long workout full of ideas but devoid of direction. The first part has Jon Anderson of Yes singing some truly inane lyrics resembling an old English fairy tale complete with Lizard's bones becoming clay to aid the birth of a swan. Wow. There are also some very weak sounding hand claps in there as well. Yuck. The rest of the song is mostly instrumental with some good parts, mainly the "Bolero" section, I like it but it's not rock really but a soft English jazz. The rest is very long unfocused, sleep inducing and is comprised mostly of hired musicians. Not a "band" effort but at this point KC wasn't a band at all.

Lizard, a prog masterpiece? Some think so but there is no way in my opinion. It does have loads and loads of ideas, great execution by Fripp, Collins and the hired jazzers and some slick studio effects. Regrettably most of the lyrics, the vocals, the weak rhythm section and the avant-garde jazz meandering just makes it one big pot full of some good ingredients that just makes a bad stew.

Unfortunately things for KC will get worse first before they get better, a lot better.

ster | 2/5 |


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