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King Crimson - Beat CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.08 | 1213 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars King Crimson - Beat (1982)

With a steady line-up eighties King Crimson (Fripp, Belew, Bruford, Levin) releases it's second album with the same sound as the successful, provocative Discipline. The production is again very good for an eighties album. In this phase King Crimson sound has wave, pop and progressive elements. Fripp impresses with new, modern guitar/synth sounds and math rhythms, whilst the rhythmical section is very tight and successful in finding the right balance between pop sensibilities and technical advanced playing.

'Beat' is often seen as the weak follow-up of 'Discipline', and it can't be ignored that King Crimson didn't quite 'reinvent' itself on this album. The sound, composition style and impact are quite much the same. We get to listen to more frantic or poppy vocals by Belew, more of those mathematical guitar loops and fretless guitar sounds and more solo's with synth- guitars by Fripp. Still I came to think of Beat as a good (but not essential) album after listening to 'The Power to Believe' (2001) and 'Discipline'. The vocals of Belew have grown on me and I kind of begin to like the poppy King Crimson style with it's many ornaments of Fripp sitting in the back. However 'Beat' isn't flawless, for it has some non- interesting/irritating tracks that aren't worthwhile.

On side one 'Neal and Jack and me' and 'Heartbeat' are good poppy/catchy tracks with some nice experimentation on the background. 'Santori in Tangier' is a very strong instrumental with some of Fripp's best experimentation and great progressive atmospheres. Perhaps my favorite track of the album and maybe even of eighties King Crimson. 'Wating Man' is a less interesting song, but it doesn't hurt side one too much and I must admit I find that rhythms to be quite soothing.

On side two the quality of the music collapses when the innovative attempt that is 'Neurotica' is both irritating in it's opening section and boring in it's middle section. 'Two Hands' is a friendly ballad, but I can't bother too much about this song. 'The Howler' is another unsuccessful attempt by the band to get the listener to regain interest. This song has more of the recognizable eighties KC style, but it has no catchy moments or interesting background interventions by Fripp. The last track, 'Requim' is a very good (but heavy and avant-garde) instrumental with some sound-scapes by Fripp in the opening section and extended psychedelic 'mad-scientist-laboratory' guitar solo's. The drums of Bruford stand out as he experiments freely over the intensive atmospheres. A good ending.

Conclusion. Not a flawless album, but I did not find the drama some make of this album. In fact, only 'Neurotica' and 'The Howler' are songs that I would have rather seen replaced by more interesting compositions. Furthermore, side one is very good and listeners of vinyl (like me) are able to stop the record before the letdowns. A very good fans album, but I'll go for the big two and a halve star rating.

friso | 3/5 |


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