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King Crimson - Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.57 | 578 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I'm sitting here listening to this album for the forth time in a row. I for one think that this is a great incarnation of King Crimson. I was skeptical at first as to what KC would do without the frontman that was with them for so many years -Belew. However with that being said, I have to welcome this new lineup with open arms. The overall sound of the album is much more earthy than they have done in a long time - maybe even the earthiest they've ever gotten. Quite a departure from their earlier style, while still having those characteristics that make it undeniably Crimson. I will review this album track by track.

A SCARCITY OF MIRACLES This is the title track of the album, and for good reason. The beautiful, ethereal intro, with both guitars and stick creating a delicate background, while the unmistakable tone of Collins' soprano sax floating over all of it sends chills up the listener's spine. The very "in the pocket", rhythmic groove of Levin and Harrison is the true backbone of this, and Jakszyk's pop vocal melodies bring the song to a new level. I really enjoy his voice, he has a great deal of emotion, and his phrasing is dead on. He actually sounds a lot like Adrian Belew, albeit more pop leanings. The lyrics in this song really stick out and paint a picture for the listener, and the coda near the end of the tune is in 7/8 - classic king crimson style.


"The Price We Pay" This one starts off probably the most different I have ever heard King Crimson. Gu Zheng.. interesting instrument. Another spacey intro here, more melodic than the one of Scarcity though. This tune is also a lot more upbeat than the rest of the tracks. I really like the guitar riffing, for some reason it kind of reminds me slightly of the 80's incarnation. I don't think I need to even comment on Collins' playing on this song, just hear it for yourself, it's amazing. That's what I like about this album the most is that everything fits perfectly where it belongs. Vocal harmonies are a real treat.


"Secrets" Now, it may be just because I'm a bass player, but I have to comment on Levin's playing on this one. This is probably his best on the album, his use of chords is just so tasteful. He's definitely one of my biggest influences playing-wise, he never, ever does too much. Tasty groove here. The main horn/guitar line is great and really KC. I don't know what it is but at around the 5 minute mark when Jakszyk sings the line "I'm underwater with the bends", it really gives me chills. Such a great line, and something about the way he sings it.


"This House" This tune has some pretty soaring vocal melodies at the first few minutes of it and some really strange sounds. The vocals at the start are really kind of Jazz Fusiony, and Collins' has some real tasty lines in there as well. This is a great song, however my one criticism is that it can feel a little bit long at points. It is a very sparse piece and has a lot of interesting things going on in the mix. Could have been cut a little shorter however.


"The Other Man" Probably the most experimental song on the album, with a great deal of that classic KC style in there. The song also gets fairly heavy about halfway through (in comparison to the rest of the album, that is). You can really hear the angry, almost tormented tone in Jakszyk's voice as he sings "the other man, the other man, the other man" repeatedly. Another example of some really great vocal harmonies, and great rhythm section here. I think however that they may have done better on the ending of the track, as I feel it just stops without any real resolution.


"The Light of Day" Now we're at the final track of the album, also the longest. Okay, I'll have to admit that this is album a very experimental piece as well. Quite possibly some of the best guitar playing I've heard in KC for a while. Real jazzy noodling going on between both Jakszyk and Fripp here. Great atmosphere within this piece, also a little too long though. I will also have to say that while it is a great song, as an album closer I think they could have chosen a more upbeat or more "together" tune. Still very interesting though, and I do like the little crescendo at the end too.


So overall, I do really love this album. I like how KC decided to take an unexpected turn with their sound, much like they did in the good 'ol days. I have also noticed that they seem to have taken a "Three of a Perfect Pair" type of approach, by making the first half of the album much more accessible than the second half. As an album I do wish there was a bit more material included in the package, with it only running about 42 minutes long altogether, they could have probably got another track on there somewhere, maybe a more suiting closer.

Another criticism I have of the album as a whole is that they may have over-used the spacey intro thing a bit, while it still suits all the songs, it kind of sticks out to me for some reason.

In closing, I really hope we hear another album out of this incarnation of King Crimson, as I am a big fan of the type of sound they are going for. It is like a perfect combination of the poppier sound of the 80's, with the jazzier sound of the early 70's. I will have to award the album a 4/5 as some fans may not be happy with the direction that King Crimson has gone with this, as it's definitely not for everyone, but I will personally say that I welcome this light-hearted change with open arms, and hope to see more of it!

Prog_Bassist | 4/5 |


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