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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 1988 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars It blows my mind how a band can release this after a masterpiece like Lizard and right before another masterpiece, LTIA. This album is by far my least favorite King Crimson album, and one of my least favorite albums I've ever heard in the symphonic prog category. I have to agree with Useful Idiot here that this is one of true missteps in King Crimson's wonderful career, and with James Lee when he compares this to Opeth's "Damnation" on how it focuses on the soft side of a usually loud band. However, while Damnation was still quite a good album, this borders on awful.

(Mostly) Gone are the hard-edged bursts of insanity, the screeching guitar of Fripp, and the wonderfully written and constantly changing songs. Instead, King Crimson seems to have decided to chill out and let the listener get deeply involved with the "soothing" calm of the album. Unfortunately, there's just not enough here to justify such lazy songwriting. Every song is pretty much slow, soft, and meandering with occassional bursts of good ol' King Crimson styled insanity that make you perk up and hope...and then it goes back to the plodding and neverending...nothingness. The only song that I really enjoyed was Sailor's Tale, a brisk jazzy song with some wonderful guitar work by Fripp in the middle. It starts out a vigorous pace and never really truly lets up all throughout. Nice!

Now, someone reading this might simply think...this kid just doesn't have the patience for slower and more thoughtful jazz prog, does he? On the contrary, I actually am an avid fan of Miles Davis, especially "Kind of Blue". I have the taste for well-done solos, and this album has that in heaps and mounds. However, the floaty and usually tasty solos are not enough to really redeem the boring and simple songwriting. Just take a look at the last six minutes or so of Formentera Lady. Tripe, with occassional snatches of good stuff, like acoustic fun from Fripp, and some nice sax and tons of other stuff going on, but it's done over the same plodding rhythm for six hardly builds at all. Song of the Gulls and the title track are almost exactly the same. The title track nearly made me want to shut it off. IT NEVER CHANGED. This is not creative, nor overly pretty. Sure, there are some pretty melodies here and there, but after 10 minutes of it, it tends to wear thin.

I don't get why this album is loved at all. I'm sorry.

FishyMonkey | 2/5 |


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