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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 1817 ratings

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5 stars 'Islands' was released in 1971 and was King Crimson's fourth studio record. The band has changed a lot in the meantime and left only Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield as original members, who signed all the tracks, but the two instrumentals together.From the more Symphonic metal outfit of the beginnigs,the band moved into Jazz Rock with Mel Collins on sax, Boz Borrell on bass and lead vocals and Ian Wallace on drumsplus some guest artists from the Jazz-Rock field like Keith Tippet and Marc Charig.The overall athmosphere is the typical Frippish one of tension, threat and danger which he supports all through the record with his trashing biting guitar play, alternating with some sweeter passages.

'Formentera Lady' starts of slowly with a bowed bass, flute, piano and chimes and a first beautiful theme, alternating with a second theme over a funky ostinato bass line, that will later on be elaborated by guitar, mellotron, a sax solo and soprano vocallizes blending into....

'Sailor's Tale', a syncopated up-tempo Jazz instrumental with flute and sax , giving way to a slower heavy funk rhythm change over which Fripp plays thrashing razor blade chords and a threatening mellotron .

'The Letters' starts with a delicate guitar, a mournful melody, before the brass section and distorted guitar come crashing in, followed by a baritone sax solo and a second part with angry desperate vocals ponctuated by the guitar and an A Capella outro.

'Ladies Of The Road' starts a as a slow blues with guitar and tambourine, followed by a howling tenor sax and heavy drums until the chorus gives place to a Beatles like Barbershop vocal arrangement and a sax solo.

'Gulls' is a classical elegy for strings and oboe, a sweet melody played by the oboe over pizzicato strings, a track that does not really fit in the overall athmosphere and which is far too long.

'Islands' the title song presents a perfect balance of lyrics and music a masterpice of Fripp and Sinfield. A beautiful melody accompagnated by piano and flute and leaving place to a second theme played by cornet and a harmonium and then by mellotron and oboe. All the second half of the long track functions as a long outro over a distant and discret rhythm a cornet solo, harmonium and mellotron chords fading slowly out, a masterpiece of chamber rock.

'Islands' is a Prog masterpiece and the achievement of the first King Crimson period.

Alucard | 5/5 |


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