Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 1702 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars King Crimson - Islands (1971)

The '71 King Crimson effort shows a small regression. The debut and 'Poseidon' had both been great symphonic/eclectic prog albums and the even more interesting 'Lizard' can be seen as an artistic peak of the progressive movement in general. Successfulness in innovation under the flag of guitarist/mellotron-player Robert Fripp didn't mean having a steady band and thus the poorly formed version of '71 Crimson fails to impress me. The lack of a good bass-player, some good composition skills and a vision does this album much harm.

The style of this album is different from all other King Crimson albums, though it relates a bit with the jazzy/avant Lizard. Instead of a 'full' sound, the band has an 'empty' sound with many low-volume or fragmentary themes. The wind-section is often disturbing. The jazz influences just don't work to well on this album in my opinion.

Still, this album has a lot of beautiful moments. The opening section, Formentera Lady, has it's moments (though it's too long and a bit boring). Sailor's Tale has a great ending section with an intense King Crimson sound, but is bothered by a lack of cohesiveness and direction. The Letters and Ladies on the Road both suffer from fragmentary song-writing but do have their catchy moments. The refrein of Ladies on the Road is very Beatlesque, which is quite strange after the harsh criticism on the Lizard song 'Happy Family'.

The real attraction is the surprisingly acoustic, harmonic and accessible 'Prelude: Song Of The Gulls' and 'Islands' ending section of the album. Song of Gulls is a fully acoustic, almost classical, piece with a great string-section. A total surprise, but it's a relaxing piece of music. The epic, Island, is just great. A warm piano, a good wind-section and devoted vocals by Boz. The piece is best described as beautiful. Not very progressive, not confronting, just beautiful. I wished they had played more of these songs in their later days.

Conclusion. I won't consider this an essential King Crimson release. The band sound disjointed and the album lacks cohesion. The only essential piece is the title track. Some tracks bore me and some of wind-sections irritate me. Fans of the band could carefully try to get into this album, but if you don't have that King Crimson-urge you'd better spent your money elsewhere. For those who embrace the digital era I would recommend the song Island, one of the few tracks your girlfriend/wife will also like. Three stars.

friso | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this KING CRIMSON review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives