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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 1688 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 6/10

'Islands' is a mellow ride that shouldn't be negatively compared with the other KC works.

King Crimson give with 'Islands' an album that is not disappointing, it actually is quite enjoyable, but nothing that really impressed anybody: it was and still is an adventurous, emotional, and quite experimental album, however it was greatly shadowed by all the great KC releases prior to this one ('In the Court of the Crimson King' in primis): the same story will apply with many other Crimson albums, however some managed to be so fiercely creative that comparisons to the debut were brought up ('Larks Tounges In Aspic').

'Islands' has a very mellow feeling to it compared to other releases: it is a relatively more peaceful, relaxing work that even when it has cheerfulness, it is toned down nevertheless. The musicianship as a result is also a little quiet, never going over the top, however silently going towards new small horizons. It is a bit adventurous in some points, but never to the point where anything sounds epic. The instrumentation is anyway much broader, where there is featured not only tons of violin, one of the main traits of the album's sound, but also flutes (as always), interesting bass lines, good vocals by Boz Burrell, and of course Robert Fripp is still playing guitar and mellotron played by Mel Collins or Robert Fripp himself. Together, along with lyricist Peter Seinfeld, they produce this nice little gem that is too many times under appreciated.

On the lyrical point of view, the lyrics seem to be about women and love, whether it be a romantic type of love, or more sexual ('Ladies On The Road' perhaps?), or simply a hymn to a Muse-like woman. In this way the atmosphere of the album is extremely accurate, and along with the music these songs have a fascinating mood that no other King Crimson album has.

There are the extremely mellow and relaxing songs here that almost have a New Age feel, like the opening ten minute track 'Formentera Lady' in all it's beauty, or the more minimalistic 'A Letter'. 'Prelude: Song Of The Gulls' is a beautiful instrumental that features as it's main attraction this gorgeous violin that makes the track possibly the most touching of the LP. The more enlivened moments are not absent: 'A Sailor's Tail' is much more active and presents great musicianship, just like 'Ladies Of The Road' is a cheerful, fun song that is always enjoyable. The title track is a sort of mix between slight agitation and complete mellowness: this proves how all the songs are covered by the same veil, as there is never any moment that is completely out there, everything is sort of safe, even though the boundaries are very wide.

An album not everybody would like immediately because possibly of it's negative comparisons with other KC work. If seen independently, though, this is a great little piece of art that shouldn't be judged as negatively as it is. It's mellow nature can easily bring the listener into another, beautiful world, and for those 43 minutes, it's not a bad ride.

EatThatPhonebook | 3/5 |


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