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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover

LIZARD

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2114 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Lizard is King Crimson at their jazziest and most avant-garde, yet it does not at all abandon the symphonic and heavy textures that are present in their first two albums. I enjoy Gordon Haskell's voice, but the way it is presented here is somewhat unfortunate, with a certain level of distortion and delay that doesn't always suit him. I must confess that the first time I heard this album, I thought Bill Bruford was drumming, given the loose attacks and reliance on the snare, so I was surprised to learn of Andy McCulloch, and I grew to appreciate his unconventional style, which makes these compositions very different than what they would have been with a more straightforward technique. Robert Fripp's presence is evident but far more inconspicuous.

"Cirkus (including Entry of the Chameleons)" Entering in a dreamlike manner that becomes clearer, as though waking up, Haskell sings over a lullaby-like introduction. Jarring brass and electric guitar saw through, interrupting the magical mood. The mystical acoustic guitar runs are a fabulous aspect. Then enters the glorious Mellotron and saxophone.

"Indoor Games" Taking a jazzier approach, the main theme makes me think of gumshoes, mobsters, and desperate dames. The verses incorporate blasts from acoustic guitar.

"Happy Family" I love the heavy, almost symphonic introduction here, but the song devolves into the token goofy track it seem each early King Crimson album must have. This is the "Cat Food" of the album, as it were- seemingly silly vocals (evidently singing about the disbanding of The Beatles) and various instruments competing in almost free-form fashion.

"Lady of the Dancing Water" Light flute and vocals provide a peaceful moment on an otherwise boisterous album. Like "Cadence and Cascade," this is a tranquil yet fleeting masterpiece- very sweet.

"Lizard" The appearance of Jon Anderson of Yes is a treat. The verses of the first section of this lengthy composition are dreamlike and quiet. However, the loudness of the Mellotron swells reach a piercingly painful level (I find myself reaching for the volume knob many times). The refrain is upbeat and happy. The second section offers mostly pleasant jazz in bolero fashion, playing on the melodies that came prior. The next theme begins in a lonesome manner (only to be later interpreted in discord with a Mellotron and ascending bass). I think Anderson's voice would have been better suited for the hushed vocal part in the third section, as Haskell's delivery is low and dull. The piece grows more cacophonic, with raucous brass and a chaotic interaction of instruments. Fripp provides a Hackett-like guitar solo over a thudding bass in one segment of the track. The suite concludes with an unsettling rendition of circus music.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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