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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover

ISLANDS

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.78 | 1244 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars Fripp got a touring band together before this album was recorded. There was no tour for Lizard. Islands is the last KC album to feature the lyrics of Peter Sinfield. It would be the last appearance of flautist/sax player Mel Collins until he briefly showed up on Red. New drummer Ian Wallace was probably the best drummer KC had after Giles and Bruford. Fripp personally taught singer Boz Burrell how to play bass. After this album he would go on to join Bad Company. Keith Tippett, guest pianist for the last two albums, would leave after this. Islands was the worst album Crimson made until Beat.

"Formentera Lady" starts with string bass, then flute and piano. Boz starts singing. Later bass, bass drum and hi-hat and some more flute. Vocals mimic the flute playing. If you listen closely you can hear some of Fripp's acoustic guitar. Later on some sax. Near the end is some soprano female vocals. A hi-hat pattern seques into..."A Sailor's Tale", the best song here. Based around a repeated bass line. Guitar and sax play in unison. Later a dissonant sax solo. After the song changes to a beat with snare rim sound. Fripp changes his guitar tone and Mellotron comes in. Guitar gets more banjo-sounding with stronger snare hits now. The music as a whole is now more intense and dramatic. Drums stop and Fripp plays some fast banjo- like guitar.

"The Letters" is the worst song. Starts with guitar and vocals, then sax and drums. Best part of the song is when Boz yells "impaled on nails of ice!". "Ladies Of The Road" is a blues-rock song about groupies. Has lines like: "stone-headed Frisco spacer / ate all the meat I gave her". Wallace came up with the drum pattern. The chorus sounds like the Beatles and has backwards guitar. Lots of good sleazy sax in this song.

"Prelude: Song Of The Gulls" does not feature a single member of the band. Only classical session musicians. Supposedly Fripp conducted the orchestra using a pencil. A nice piece of music. The title track starts with piano, vocals and bass flute. Later music changes to the main part of the song. After cornet and harmonium came in. Halfway the drums come in but they are mixed low. Then some Mellotron and more cornet.

There really is not another album like this in the Crimson discography. Fripp clearly had to reinvent his band after this. This is good for hearing "Sailor's Tale", and maybe "Ladies". The rest is some of the worst stuff this band ever came up with. I think this was the last album where Fripp wrote all the music. 2 stars.

zravkapt | 2/5 |

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