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King Crimson - In the Wake of Poseidon CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.84 | 2444 ratings

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5 stars Okay, so it's already got a lot of reviews, but most people tend to compare it to it's predecessor. Yes there are similarities, but the music is still excellent just like it was in the first album. The line up is close to the same as the first. Greg Lake, prior to finishing this album, had decided to join Emerson and Palmer, but agreed to sing on a few of the tracks, and ended up singing on all of the vocal tracks except for "Cadence and Cascade" which was to be sung by Gordon Haskell, a future KC regular. However, with Lake leaving the band, Robert Fripp was actually considering a person who at the time was unknown by the name of Reginald Kenneth Dwight....wait a minute, that's Elton John's real name....why yes it is now that you mention it. Considering the first few albums that Elton John made, it's not a far stretch to imagine him singing some of these tracks, especially the folk-heavy pastoral sounding "Cadence and Cascade" and my curiosity makes me wonder how he would have fared on "Pictures of a City". I would imagine people wouldn't be saying this album was a clone of ICOTKC, but who knows. (BTW, Brian Ferry from Roxy Music was also considered as lead singer somewhere along the way.)

Anyway, whether it's a clone or not, think about how many bands were making clones at the time. It was a successful formula and it worked. But, they did the formula so well, that there was plenty of room to do it again, as long as it wasn't a direct copy, which in my opinion, it wasn't. I love this album as much as the debut album, if anything, I love it more because it hasn't been played to death like the debut.

It is still full or original music and still had it's huge influence on progressive rock and the development of it. You have "Pictures of a City" which is a chaotic opener (after the first very tranquil "Peace" theme that is) very similar to the structure of "21st Century Schizoid Man", except for the very quiet middle section, that patterns the sound of the experiemental section of "Moonchild" but thankfully not as long before it builds to a final climax. Then follows the peaceful, almost folkish, but better described as pastoral, number called "Cadence and Cascade" in the same style as was "I Talk to the Wind", and then the beautiful "In the Wake of Poseidon" which is in the same style as "Epitaph". All of this is great that the music was patterned after the debut album, but it is still excellent music and stands on it's own as masterpieces in music.

The album on the 2nd half, however, takes on it's own personality as it starts with another version of "Peace", this time as a guitar solo. before losing the peacefulness to the amazing "Cat Food" which was released as a single (in an edited format), but which is the perfect antithesis of a pop single. Chaotic piano destroys the happy track and it's such a wonderful thing to see the satirical take on pop music even back then. What? Cat Food? Again? After this, KC takes off into a classical/rock fusion number called "The Devil's Triangle" which is actually Fripp's take on "Mars, The Bringer of War". The original title was to be "Mars" but they were not allowed to use that title because of Gustav's family trust's legal holdings on the classical piece. But KC does it justice and even uses a little Ravel in there too in the form of the percussion pattern and the development of the crescendo (Bolero, anyone?) This is also a track that has no clone on the debut, and it runs for over 10 minutes. It is also a masterpiece, and Fripp pulls off the arrangement with all respect to the original, then adds his own degree of chaos when he suddenly brings back the theme out of nowhere, but in an evilly warped way. This is genius. Finally, the original album ends with another version of the "Peace" theme. However, countless reissues include the "Cat Food" single edit (What? "Cat Food" again?) and then throws on the B-side "Groon" which was not originally available on the album. "Groon" is a wonderful guitar led avant-garde jazz piece which I think is another amazing track which defies description or even comparison. Take that pop radio! I wonder what Zappa thought of this.

Anyway, I stand behind my rating of 5 stars for this album. Yes it starts out with a similar formula as the debut album, but even the songs that follow that formula are excellent. Then it goes off on it's own to show that the band was going to progress even if there was inner turbulence in the ranks. Fripp was still able to put together an amazing album and that would make 2 in a row! 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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