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King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 1191 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Not a great King Crimson release, but it's a good step up from the weak Beat.

The album is another one of those divided in half, with the first being more concerned with accessibility and energy and the second with a little creative freedom. On the whole, the songs are not nearly so complicated and deep as they are on Discipline, but for what they are, they are pretty darn good tunes. Tony Levin once more stretches his wings and takes a bite out of the glass house, clearly proving that there's a reason he ends up on half the progressive releases these days. His bass work is once again stunning and entertaining. The guitars back up once more, allowing a little room for synths and other sorts of sounds that do certainly date this as an 80s album but don't really detract from its charm at all. Belew's vocals are maybe not at Discipline level heights again, but they certain are more interesting than they were on Beat.

The first half opens with the title track, a vaguely poppish tune with an interesting beat and syncopated feel that hearkens quite nicely to tracks like Frame by Frame or Indiscipline. Model Man is a bit more standard in a pop way, being a nice song but probably, aside from Belew's vocals, one of the more uninteresting tunes here. Sleepless gives Levin some room really to open up, and the bass riff that drives this song is one of pure beauty. The chorus isn't bad, either, but I have serious difficutly listening to anything except that hammering on the bass strings. Man with an Open Heart is similar to Model Man in my mind, and not just because of the title. The side closes with the first really experimental or progressive track here, Nuages. Featuring an interesting and liquid soundscape, a strange sounding guitar builds on top of a sequence of synths. Unfortunately, the song doesn't really go anywhere.

Industry starts side two with a menacing bass bit, applying subtle amounts of whale-noise synths here and there. The song starts to gain some steam with some heavy and distorted guitar, some cool drumming, and some wicked slap bass (I'm not going to lie, I have a serious soft spot for slap bass). This one builds like a soundscape as well, much more menacing in the vein of Providence or The Talking Drum. It closes with some terrifying keyboard noises. Dig Me comes next, a shorter piece with a very weird rhythm and instrument interplay. It took a few listens to actually begin to digest this one. Belew rides over the top with some creepy spoken word bits that sound like something you'd hear in a sci fi movie. But then all the weirdness drops away, and the band surprises you wonderfully: a stunningly beautiful and creative chorus out of nowhere. It's this dramatic intersection of experimental confusion and clean softness. Easily the best tune on the disc. No Warning is a jarring and dissonant jam bit that I don't really care for. And finally, we come to the next installment in the Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Fans of the original album may fear for the quality of this piece, but really, it sounds nice here. It's not so focused as either of the first two parts, but the band does a nice job of taking some of their classic riffs and implementing them into their new sound. It's not perfect, but it is fun.

Fans of Discipline, look here. This is the best successor that album has, and it has some really neat ideas and inspirations. However, those unfamiliar with King Crimson should never start here. It would just be terribly confusing, I would think. A good album, a bit uneven, but with some tunes that fans of the band should at least hear a few times.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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