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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 1695 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Islands is one of those rare albums where Fripp and company are swept along with the wave instead of riding the crest. KC introduced jazz and heavy rock elements back in 1969, and they had ridden those ideas through the next two albums, with mixed results. Islands represents a return to a more mellow, symphonic style, picking up where they left off with Epitaph and Court.

The second half of this album (the prelude and Islands) goes a long way towards justifying the change of course. This is a beautiful piece of music in the symphonic style, and the world would be poorer without it. It is not, however, a rival to what KC had put on vinyl earlier. Sure it's pleasant, but just compare the creativity and the musical ideas packed into Lizard with this epic, and Islands will come out far worse.

The first half of Islands is markedly inferior to the second (as coincidentally the first half of Lizard falls far below the second.) Formentara Lady and Sailor's Tale are competent but hardly exceptional or compelling songs (well, Sailor's Tale has a couple of moments that sparks some interest, but once you've got the first two minutes of Formentara Lady, the other eight are pretty much wasted.) The Letters is not memorable at all and Ladies of the Road is frankly bad once you get what meagre amusement you can get out of the risque lyrical content.

In short, I'll give this two stars. It's for fans, not for the general public. The only excuse to use this to introduce someone to King Crimson would be that the only other album you have is Lizard (which is actually a better, but far less accessible production.) Islands showcases all of the flaws of the first era of King Crimson with precious few of the brilliancies.

ghost_of_morphy | 2/5 |


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