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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 2597 ratings

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5 stars King Crimson introduced a new era of excellence with this 1973 album. Featuring the classic rhythm section of new members Bill Bruford and John Wetton, their pulse gave life to a band in a newfound state of creative flux. With a vast assortment of textures and timbres, Larks' Tongues In Aspic does indeed have a little bit of everything from hard rock to world music. It is a treat for every listener who appreciates a good bit of Robert Fripp weirdness tempered with good melodies and vocal sweetness from John Wetton. With the addition of percussionist Jamie Muir and violinist David Cross and the colors that they bring, Larks' Tongues In Aspic becomes a chronicle of reinvention.

The lengthy experimental track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part I" starts off with an array of mallet percussion courtesy of Jamie Muir. This segues into the urgent violin of David Cross building tension and finally leading to an explosive guitar-driven crescendo, which is then followed by a polyrhythmic exercise showcasing the mighty Bruford/ Wetton rhythm section.

"Book of Saturdays" quiets things down with John Wetton's lead vocals over a nice mellow chord progression and lovelorn lyrics. It gives the listener a chance to recuperate from the sonic intensity of the opener. Overall, it's a nice tune, but it does come dangerously close to tranquilization rather than relaxation.

The mellow vibe continues with "Exiles". Although it is a beautiful song with a lush soundscape and a fine melody, it commands attention with John Wetton's soaring lead vocals and a lovely understated lead guitar solo by Robert Fripp.

The intensity returns with "Easy Money", perhaps the best song on Larks' Tongues In Aspic. John Wetton gives another excellent vocal, but this time it is much more intense. Cross provides more greatness in the string section, and Fripp performs some rather jazzy guitar heroics. It ends with the peculiar sounds of a laugh box, but it somehow fits in with attitude of the song.

"The Talking Drum" comes next, and it recounts the experimentation of the opener. This dynamic track starts off very quietly before building to a crescendo of Cross' Middle Eastern-influenced violin over the tight Bruford/ Wetton pulse and leading to Fripp's screaming lead guitar at maximum volume.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II" closes the album, and there is a good reason why the Crims continued to perform this song well into the 21st century. It is an extraordinary instrumental with heavy guitar riffs, powerful drums, and incredible bass guitar. The Bruford/ Wetton rhythm section are at their finest on this closer.

The greatness of King Crimson may very well have been in doubt in 1973, but those doubts were put to rest with the release of this album. Although they would continue to reinvent themselves at various points throughout their lengthy history, this reinvention was one for the ages, and this album is an absolute classic. It is indeed essential, and I gladly give it 5 stars.

jimidom | 5/5 |


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