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King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair CD (album) cover

THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.23 | 757 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

40footwolf
4 stars Somehow this album got saddled with a pretty nasty reputation, and I'm not quite sure how it happened. Three of a Perfect Pair is not King Crimson's finest hour, but it is quite good, and it deftly lays the groundwork for their later, more experimental ventures.

The title track starts us off, and it's one of King Crimson's very best songs-cold but paranoid, it's a jittery, unnerving song that sounds like it could explode at any instant, and Fripp's main riff on this track would prove to be the touchstone of a thousand math rock songs to come. "Model Man" is a fine enough pop song, and "Sleepless" is a dancy, close to industrial sounding track that succeeds largely due to Tony Levin's impeccable bass playing. "Man With an Open Heart" is a sorrowful song about a woman caged up by an overprotective husband and it's the closet Krim gets to letting loose with real, identifiable emotion on the whole album. Side 1 ends with "Nuages(That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)", which serves as more of a sneak preview of side 2 than anything else, but is still a relaxing, aquatic groove, almost sounding like proto-shoegaze in certain instances.

Side 2 is a bit harder to analyze, but equally worth investing in. The psychosis and teeth- gritting anxiety that was only hinted at on the first half comes out her with a vengeance. "Industry" is propelled once more by Tony Levin's eerie, ominous bass and keyboards, while Fripp's guitar playing travels back to his more ambient Eno days, providing a compelling contrast with the spookiness of the rhythm section(even if it does last a bit too long for its own good). "Dig Me" is a jarring tale from the perspective of a car that's been left in the junkyard. I'm tempted to call it the second best song on the album next to the title track: Belew sounds downright demented as he sings, clearly trying to get into the "mindset", if you will, of a long-abandoned piece of machinery driven mad by boredom and disuse. The quick tempo changes, combined with a synth and guitar that seem to appear in bursts of lunacy rather than in standard progressions, make for a song that's quite unlike anything else Krim has done. "No Warning" is more or less filler, but "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part III" sends the album out on a fine note, starting out with a guitar passage borrowed from Part II, turning into something of a frenzy and ending with a slow, heavy jam.

This is King Crimson's first album to have that sort of neurosis to it, the first where you get the feeling you're listening to songs that are bursting with feverishness just below the surface. This would be explored even further on Thrak and The Power to Believe, but for now they were content to mix their impulses with more friendly '80s pop influences, and it worked out wonderfully. No, it's not the majestic, puffed-up King Crimson of old, but in many ways that's what makes this album work: Its keen sense of experimentation, and a deep desire to not rely on the same old tricks.

Dig it, folks. But don't bury it.

40footwolf | 4/5 |

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