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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.41 | 2952 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 321

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is the fifth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1973. The previous King Crimson's line up had broke completely up after the release of their horrible live album "Earthbound", an album already reviewd by me on Progarchives, and Fripp was left completely on his own. He used some time to gather together a new line up that included Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross. The first version of this line up has also included Jamie Muir on several percussions. The new King Crimson played progressive rock of a kind and in a way that no other band had done before them. Their new style was often based in very heavy and loud riffs built around raw and freaked out improvisations, and sounded very refreshing. So, this new incarnation of the band is also a key album in the band's evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation, as central influences.

The line up of this album is Robert Fripp (guitars, mellotron, electric piano and devices), John Wetton (lead vocals, bass and acoustic piano), Bill Bruford (drums), David Cross (violin, viola, mellotron, flute and electric piano), James Muir (percussion) and Richard Palmer-James (lyrics).

The album has six tracks. The first track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is the first part of a multi-part epic song released over the course of three studio albums of the group. The part one and the part two are on this fifth studio album, the part three is on their tenth studio album "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and the part fourth is on their thirteenth studio album "The Construkction Of Light". "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" is the longest part of the song and is one of the most experimental of King Crimson's career up until that time. It begins with a long percussion introduction before entering a hard rock section introduced by a slowly violin that becoming more prominent until the end of the song, with a dramatic final. We may say this is really and totally an experimental eclectic track which is clearly influenced by jazz, classical, heavy and Eastern music. This is probably the best experimental song in their career and is absolutely brilliant. The second track "Book Of Saturday" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer-James is the shortest song on the album. It's the song where John Wetton makes his debut as a singer on the band. It's a very simple, calm and nice song with which we can relax, very well sung, but there is no longer anything remarkable on this song to talk about. The third track "Exiles" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp and Palmer-James is one of the highest points of this album. It has a very delicate and beautiful melody with the powerful use of the mellotron that reminds me strongly their second studio album "In The Wake Of Poseidon". This is a real must for those who like King Crimson's melodic side. The fourth track "Easy Money" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer- James, objectively speaking, isn't as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". Apparently the song turns up very strange but gradually it grows up and becomes on a very interesting, nice and curious piece. It's a very good song, but sincerely, it isn't at the same level of the other two songs mentioned by me before. The fifth track "The Talking Drum" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is, in my humble opinion, better than the previous, but, nevertheless, I think it isn't also as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". It's, without any doubt, a very good King Crimson's instrumental song, but sincerely, it hasn't on me the same emotional effect as the other two songs previously mentioned by me have. The sixth and last track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two" written by Robert Fripp is the second part of the epic and is also the second shortest part and the most familiar of all. It segues perfectly out of the previous song "The Talking Drum" and was usually performed directly after it. This is another one highest point of this album. It has an absolutely amazing guitar performance of Robert Fripp and is also where all band's members work together making of this song a very cohesive effort. It's really hard to believe how incredible this song is and how it's so perfect, to close this great album.

Conclusion: Despite "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is, in my opinion, one of the best King Crimson's studio albums, it isn't a true masterpiece as "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "Red" are. Why? Because it has two songs, "The Talking Drum" and especially "Easy Money", with less quality, in relation to the rest of the album. Still, this is a great album with a fantastic line up of musicians, one of my favourites together with the line up of their debut studio album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", and it has also some of the best musical moments composed and performed by the group in their long career. Everything sounds great. Every instrument is being heard. It's not like some other artists around. The guitar must be the only thing you hear in the whole song. No, Fripp is more of a composer than a guitarist. Besides, despite some lower points, "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is an album amazingly performed by these musicians.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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