King Crimson

Islands - Island 1971

Tracks: Tracks: 1. Formentera Lady / 2. Sailor's Tale / 3. Letters / 4. Ladies Of The Road / 5. Prelude - Song Of The Gulls / 6. Islands


One can hardly accuse King Crimson to be coquettish and play on safe keys. Very often the group has given even the most beautiful melodies a twist or edge which contrasts the ugly and the beautiful. This tendency, or intention, is also very evident in this, the group's fourth album.

The group mixes genres in new and challenging ways, and while some passages may be an ordeal for many to give ear to, other pieces of the same track can be melodic beauty and sheer pleasure.

On this album, my two biggest favorites both have these extremes. The opening track "Formentary Lady" has a nice, slightly gloomy intro, played on cello and builds up very classically inspired. The actual song is melodic, and you easily find yourself humming lines from the delicate and catchy melody. The song gradually develops towards the more discordant, and towards the end the saxophone ĺplay notes that may behard to grasp. Although many probably would feel it an assault on the track, I have chosen to make my own edited version - down to about five minutes; then my family wil also be able to be nearby when the track is playing.

The same thing could be done to "Ladies on the Road" which is my absolute favorite. Like "Formentary Lady" the song takes a similar turn towards the end. Still "Ladies on the Road" has everything you could ask for: a bluesy half-acoustic intro, great electric "Come Together" verses, and a beautiful chorus, which reminds me a lot of Pretty Things' "Parachute" album. The saxophone takes over towards the end, and "ruins" some of the song’s beauty - some would feel

There are two instrumental, with the "Sailor's Life" as the most exciting, but also the most challenging for the listener. Again experiments on saxophone and later the electric guitar playing notes I have never heard other places. "Prelude: Song of the Sea" is a very quiet classical number, which could very easily be overlooked. Nice but not really memorable

The title track is another quiet number which is really very nice, but which perhaps lacks a real memorable melody. "The Letters" has good element but the song does not really hit me.

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