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King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic CD (album) cover

LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.40 | 2130 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After the twin peaks of seminal post-psychedelic debut 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' and the heavy shreddery of 1974's bone-crunching 'Red', this 1973 effort - the Fripp-led outfit's fifth - remains arguably the next best slice of available Crimson. Suitably glazed in the arty and experimental packaging that came to characterise many of the group's early-seventies offerings, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' finds the five-piece of Fripp(guitar), John Wetton(bass, vocals), David Cross(violin), Jamie Muir(percussion) and defecting Bill Bruford(drums) churning out an at times exquisite rendering of Fripp's now avant-prog soundscapes, the whole washed down with a heavy dose of experimental jazz-fusion that takes this King Crimson into as-of-yet uncharted waters. The opening title-track, rather surprisingly, proves the weak link, as eleven-plus minutes worth of gentle rattling, strange ghostly noises and occasional half-formed melodies drag by, though all four of the shorter tracks prove to be well worth the wait. 'Book Of Saturday' - short, sweet, maudlin - proves both utterly compelling and rather beautiful, Wetton's note-perfect vocals particularly fetching. 'Exiles', however, proves even more satisfying despite a warped and ominous beginning that harks back to the album's soggy introductory gambit. Again, a deceptively sweet-natured centre and Fripp's striking use of mellotron tone-and- colour make for another faux-medieval mini-epic of deceptive grandeur; Wetton, as ever, delivers faultlessly on both his counts. 'Easy Money' finds King Crimson doing their very own take on straight-up head-nodding rock - again excellent - though 'The Talking Drum' reverts back to pompous art-pop territory; interesting but flawed, it's almost a novelty, yet not quite. The second part of the title-track trumps the first - the snail-pacing of yore dissipates under a welter of powerful instrumental passages - and makes a suitably grand and quirky finale. Though it may have it's faults, this is progressive rock in the vein of a true original outfit, made in a way that drips with the Crimson statement-of-intent. Intricate, passionate, darkly-ambient and always biting away at the very edges of rock's limits, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' is another fully-formed challenge of an album that positively glowers with musical innovation in a very different way from the avant-edged rock 'n' roll grade of the era. And that, it seems, is exactly the point. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
stefro | 4/5 |

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