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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 1936 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of the most unique pieces of music you will find on this site.

This album is often overlooked by King Crimson fans and some even say is their worst release. One thing is certain , Islands is not an easy listening album. It may take several listens before it starts to grow on you , but once it does , it's one of the most valuable experiences you are likely to face in your musical yourney. This album feels like a big piece of music. One can not tell when a piece begins and one ends. In that aspect , Islands may be similar to Miles Davis On the Corner for you to compare somehow. Another peculiarity of this record is that there aren't mindblowing solos or incredible performances , well maybe Sailor's Tale is the exception to the rule.

The album uses quite unusual instrumentation even for a prog album including an oboe , a cornet and diferent wind instruments. The athmospthere on this record is incredibly calm , but this is an aspect of Islands you will have to deal with in order to fully appreciate it. A proof of this fact is the opener Fomentera Lady that relies on wind instruments and the ethereal scat of the soprano Paulina Lucas seems music written in another realm , and believe me I am not exagerating. This piece is connected with the ferocius Sailor's tale , this is quite a change from the mood of the opener! Bob Fripp plays an overwhelming guitar solo on this track , but there are also lots of sax and Mellotron interplay here , the good ol' mellie is often remembered by it's mellow sound but on this track it sounds like a person suffering in pain. The next number , The letters is probably the weakest track on this record because it's quite inconsistent. It has good lyrics though. Boz saves us from sleeping by screaming suddenly : Impaled in nails of ice!

The next track is the one that may resemble an actual song in structure. Ladies of the Road features a beautiful Beatles sounding chorus and some hilarious lines by Peter Sinfileld , those are not really poetical , he goes straight to the matter here: Said , please no surrender , just love to feel your Fender. Now if you have found that line grotesque , the next song is sublime. Song of the gulls , features classical instrumentation , it could be a perfect wedding march! This song has nothing to do with prog , rock or any of the genres described on the site , it's beyond all that. Truly one of a kind

This record closes in the same mood it started with the title song Islands. Boz wasn't the finest bass player Fripp has found but his voice really suited this record and this track in particular. Melancholic enough to bring tears out of your eyes , whatever island this guys are describing I just want to get stranded there. Musically the song is really simple. Boz's voice is accompanied by a subtle piano , some wind instruments , a little buildup at the end of the tune... after the song finally vanishes out of your speakers and you are left in awe with the fourth King Crimson album.

Not for every listener for sure , but it may be a really good choice for the adventorous ones.

crimson87 | 5/5 |


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