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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover

LIZARD

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.09 | 1453 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Amazing how much they'd changed over the last year or so- compare the fading antique tapestry of "In the Court of the Crimson King" with the detailed, vivid surrealism of "Cirkus"; both communicate a dystopian pomp with undertones of mystery and menace, but this time through an off-kilter modern arrangement featuring such rare elements as Fripp's acoustic and a brass section (including the amazing Mel Collins, obviously a good friend of the prog community). Hearing the acoustic and electric piano parts on this album made me realize how conspicuous their absence is in much of KING CRIMSON's music. McCullogh's drumming never seems to settle down; it's hard to decide if it's effective or irritating as he rolls and fills at every turn. The jazzy improvisation urge has won out for the most part on this album, a stark contrast to the often plodding pomp of the first two, and it's obvious to hear that Fripp doesn't quite know how to reconcile all the disparate elements. Partly as a result and partly by choice, Sinfield's lyrics now resemble antique nursery ryhmes, or Lewis Carroll, lending a bit more humor and playfulness (albiet of a dark sort) that many listeners will connect with "Nursery Cryme"-era GENESIS; "Indoor Games" and "Happy Family" both laugh, but you may not laugh along with them. Although indeed sometimes resembling early Gabriel, Haskell's delivery sounds very similar to past Greg Lake and future John Wetton. On the delicate "Lady of the Dancing Water", the medieval grace attempted on "Moonchild" and "I Talk to the Wind" is achieved, but only by sacrificing much of the band's dinstinctiveness- if you hadn't known, would you have guessed this song is by KING CRIMSON? However, the Jon Anderson-voiced "Prince Rupert Awakes" maintains some stylistic ties- including a lovely reverse guitar sound and the Mellotron, both of which demonstrate Fripp's lighter touch. Prog catalogers should note that "Lizard" is both unique in the bands' discography and most like a typical prog epic: an extended piece, broken up into named movements and sub-movements, ostensibly following a storyline. The arrangements here are anything but typical, however; the brass parts sometimes elicit jazzy impressions, and sometimes a sloppy classical grandeur more akin to PINK FLOYD's "Atom Heart Mother". You can feel Fripp being torn by two opposing forces: the lush, large-toned narrative romanticism which characterized the original albums and the modern, raw, experimental approach that blossomed in the later works. For the duration of "Lizard", however, the battle still rages; listeners will most likely be torn as well, finding much to appreciate but also much that resists enjoyment.
James Lee | 3/5 |

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