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King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 2976 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Following the mildly disappointing release (to many) of Islands, King Crimson returned to form with the impressive and experimental Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Bracketed by the two instrumental title tracks, this album is the first to feature the classic vocal stylings of famous John Wetton (also well known for his role in Asia). However, due mostly to the title tracks, this album is mostly instrumental, and you won't get nearly as good of a showcasing of Wetton's supreme singing ability until, in truth, Red. This release is a wonderful gap bridger, looking back on Lizard and forward to Red. The aggression dives in and out of the songs here, but instead of sitting among melancholic sections, it plays between melodic and creative bits. Robert Fripp's guitar is on fire here, too, and fans of his more extravagant abilities should certainly look here sooner than into any of the albums the band release prior to this one.

The first Larks' Tongues track is the longer one (and, out of the four total present on different albums [the third being on Three of a Perfect Pair and the fourth on ConstruKction of Light], this is the longest total) of the two present here, and it also is the better constructed, in my opinion. Some really neat percussion marks the intro before King Crimson's heaviest and most evil riff until 2003's Dangerous Curves. The song builds and falls, builds and falls for its remainder, featuring some really neat bits but still struggling to find its identity as a song. Book of Saturday arrives next, and it's a sweet and gentle little ballad bit, something very much straightforward to realign the band and the audience after the thirteen minute onslaught of the opening track. The final track on side one, Exiles, is another mellower piece with nice vocals from Wetton and some spectacular drumming from Bruford. The acoustic guitar is nice and the violin nicer, but on the whole, it is a slightly uninspiring tune.

Side two begins with Easy Money, the most aggressive and accessible tune on the album. Deep tom work by Bruford and a heavily distorted main guitar riff back a powerful intro. The tune meanders in an almost AOR sort of way, reminding me a lot of early Black Sabbath without being remotely unoriginal. A solid guitar solo in the middle continues this feel and builds the song back to a stunning conclusion. A very fun track, probably the most since Cirkus off Lizard. The next track, The Talking Drum, just happens to feature some of the most impressive drumming Bruford did not only with Crimson but out of any musical act he found himself in. This song builds very, very slowly, but it comes to a splendid climax. Lastly, the album closes with the second part of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, which is still neat and still features some frenetic fret work by Fripp (no alliteration intended), but is overall not as inspiring or powerful as the first part.

In the end, this is a wonderful Crimson album to have, though it still is weaker than several other of their 70s releases. Most the album is instrumental, so fans of that side of King Crimson need to buy this.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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