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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 1884 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If you thought Lizard was a departure from the standard KC groove, just wait until you get a listen to Islands. If there was any question that Fripp was going to follow his muse vs. taking the commercial-success road, this one settled it.

Formentera Lady has to be one of the all-time oddest choices for a lead-off track, in any genre. It takes forever to gather steam, though there's eventually a previously unheard Eastern influence displayed, but it seems to be designed as mainly a long, atmospheric intro to Sailors Tale, which is the best song on the album. I can't say enough about Sailor's Tale; it's up there with Crimson's best.

But things go a bit downhill from there. The Letter is unintentionally hilarious due to the absurd lyrics; this is as lame a song as KC has ever recorded. "Impaled on nails of ice." Gimme a break! Ladies of the Road is a lascivious take on the groupie scene, with Revolver-era Beatle-esque horns, and is a decent enough cut. Prelude is almost Baroque and is beautiful, but it's more like an intermission piece than anything substantial. The title track is also very good, but never really goes anywhere.

Given the jazz influence, this is a decent follow up to Lizard, and it's well worth a listen, but KC listeners at the time were used to albums being coherent wholes. This is more like a collection of out-takes. But some fans, myself included, eventually come to view this as a damn near essential addition to any KC collection, though Sailors Tale is the only must-have track.

jammun | 3/5 |


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