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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 1695 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A very moving album, and the closing chapter of the first Crimson King saga. Islands is definetely one of the most underrated works on prog, and while not a perfect masterpiece, it could be very well one if it weren't for the occasional lack of energy or variety of ideas, which are always present on KC albums, even on the mellower ones. There's a new bass player and vocalist, BOZ BURRE, who together with GORDON HASKELL could very well attend a competition of who is the most underrated vocal man on prog. Each one of those voices fitted very well on their respective albums. Lizard with an "old man voiced-like person" and Islands with a "soft and introspective" voice. On Islands the jazzy approach present on Lizard continues, but in a much softer way. While Lizard was epic and aggressive, Islands is dreamy and mellow, with some classic music influence glued together to make not a boring album, but a listenable and beautiful one. Each song here has an "appeal", no song overshadows the others, they are all in the same level, making this album very consistent.

"Formentera Lady" and "Sailor's Tale" are actually one long epic, the former being the first part of it, and the introduction to this oceanic world found on Islands. Many people think it is boring, but i consider it amazing. The first part is very quiet, setting the album's mood in a very adequate way. The second part, "Sailor's Tale", is the album's best number as it features a true progressive style, reaching its climax when FRIPP delivers his amazing mellotron playing in a hauting section. The whole song is chaotic in a mellow way, if such thing is possible. "The Letters" is melancholic, but when the sax solo enters it becomes schizophrenic. This song kind of reflects the sadness (vocal part) and anger caused due to sadness due to not having the expectations sattisfied (sax solo). "Ladies of the Road" is the more rocky one here, and it is very catchy. "Song of the Gulls" is an unique song on the CRIMSONian repertoire, as they'd never experiment again with such PURE classical music. The title track is reflective, and while many consider it overlong, i think it is great to absorb its essence. A very nice ending, but definetely not an epic, since it doesn't changes its face too much during its lenght. Still, a great and beautiful song.

Not only this album is forgotten and underrated, it is also the last one from the first KC era. From now on, there'll be more experimental works and a touch of "metal" which the band will make an excellent use of. I think the people who dismiss Island for its mellowness and lack of energy should give it some more tries, or listen to it with an open mind. It is an unique album on KC's career, and definetely one of my favourites.

Eclipse | 5/5 |


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