Review Revue: King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair


You know who doesn’t get a lot of respect these days? The prog rockers. Yeah, that’s right: the noodlers, the wankers, the incessant time-signature-changer-uppers, the guys with boards full of effects for their guitars and lyrics about larks’ tongues and moonchildren and crimson kings. And I totally get it. But have you ever sat and listened to a King Crimson album? And if so, which one, and who played on it? (Here’s a handy chart of their personnel and albums over the years, if that help. Note that Robert Fripp’s line is the only one that goes all the way across.)

Because if you didn’t like the dark, demented psychedelia of their genre-launching debut, maybe you would be drawn in by the cool, technical intensity of their early-80s albums (such as Three of a Perfect Pair). I mean, say what you will about wankery and the fetishization of chops over taste, but can you really argue with the quartet of Fripp, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin? No, you cannot. So don’t even try. And KCMU heads are here to back me up, armed with a raft of f-words:

“More Crimson! ‘Lark’s Tongue in Aspic Pt. 3’! It’s the 70s all over again (rarf… ). Actually, this sounds like it should… good!”

“Fucking Amazing.”

“Great! As in fucking awesome!”

“This should be in heavy!”

“It is, clod!”

“No, it is King Crimson.”

“This… is… fucking… GREAT!!”

“‘Sleepless’ skips like Hell, which is a pity because it’s a very good song.”

“Luckily, the ‘Sleepless’ single is in O.” [Not sure what ‘O’ means, sorry.]

Great video for Sleepless . . . best thing on MTV.” [Insert obligatory “ah, remember when MTV played music videos?” crack.]

“I’d like a cheeseburger please.”

“These guys rock out better in 7/8 time than anyone I’ve ever heard.”

“Probably the best thing in the KCMU library.”

Well, damn, how about that? Not a single dissenting opinion! Obviously, King Crimson is objectively awesome, and you should be listening to them.

This has been your Progressive Rock Service Announcement for the day.

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  1. icastico
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    And Discipline is even better.

    My other favorites of theirs:
    Starless and Bible black, and USA.

  2. icastico
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Weird, while I wrote that “Great Deceiver” came up on the iPod.

  3. duane
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The Fripp/Belew/Bruford/Levin albums were the soundtrack to many a bong hit in college. Still great almost 30 years later. Lost my bong, tho’.

  4. Si
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Love the interlocking style of this era – awesome. Fripp is still a massive influence on loads of people from Tool and Porcupine Tree to all the “live loopers” From Katy Tunstall to Andrew Bird to Matt Stevens( – very Fripp goes flamenco)

  5. chris preece
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I have never tired of listening to King Crimson

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