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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 1687 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I debated for a long time with myself on the rating I was to give to this album. A part of me wanted to give it only two stars; while the other tried to remind me that, after all, this was King Crimson, and you don't give only two stars to a legend of prog lightly. Eventually I decided for three, though "Islands" is far from being my favourite KC at all. Even "Starless and Bible Black", which is in my opinion the weakest offering from the Fripp-Bruford- Wetton-Cross lineup, is more interesting than this one. However, the quality of the musicianship involved cannot be denied, and Boz Burrell is probably the best KC vocalist after Lake's departure . Compared to the excruciating performance of Gordon Haskell on "Lizard" (which is musically a far better album), his vocals are a breath of fresh air. His voice may not be powerful as Lake's, but it is harmonious and graceful, well-suited to the extremely laid-back quality of the music.

As a matter of fact, 'laid-back' is the operative word here. This record is so mellow and relaxed as to be somewhat soporific. This is not a bad thing in itself, but when every track starts sounding the same as the one before, then you have a problem. That said, "Formentera Lady" and the title-track are quite nice, though not as memorable as other KC tracks, while the instrumentals are not on a par with such legendary pieces as "Red", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" or even "Discipline". The best song by far, in my opinion, is the quirky "Ladies of the Road", much criticised because of its 'sexist' lyrics (which I don't find offensive at all - I've heard much worse!), featuring a lovely Beatles- tinged chorus and a great vocal performance by Boz.

Obviously "Islands" cannot be ignored by anyone who really wants to get into KC's musical output, but I have to admit that it is one of the weakest links in their excellent production.

Raff | 3/5 |


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