Peter Sinfield
Still


2.5
average

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
April 8th, 2010 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Oh wait, this bloke actually had a solo career?'

Most proggies have heard of Peter Sinfield. He’s the bloke who wrote the lyrics for King Crimson’s first four albums – including their classic debut In The Court of the Crimson King. What most of them DON’T know, however, is that the good man once released a solo outing called Still in 1973, two years after he quite Crimson. Above that, the record also features many were-, have been- or future members of that band: Greg Lake, Mel Collins, Ian Wallace and John Wetton, just to name a few, are part of the rather large crew that worked on Still (27 people, to be exact).

This humongous line-up makes it look like Still will be full of virtuosic bombast in advance to the listen. However, it sounds quite the opposite for most the time. Opener The Song of the Sea Goat introduces us to a very calm, tranquil sound, with Sinfield’s vocals being predominantly accompanied by a flute. It therefore reminds immediately of Crimson’s own I Talk to the Wind, but is nowhere as stunning. Though the calm sound is welcoming, the vocals are something of an acquired taste. Sinfield has listened to those who he previously wrote lines for, but his high, thin voice isn’t always the easiest to be drawn into the music by, and his intonation can be overly theatrical at times, making the album less believable.

Nevertheless, there are some enduring moments on the record, be they never as good as anything the better-known 70’s progressive artists have put out at their heights. The title track, despite having some of the album’s weakest vocal moments in the beginning, builds very well, and has a very good trump card: Greg Lake, who sings a few lines with that excellent voice of his. His contribution really helps the song get to a much higher level, but also shows how inferior Sinfield is as a singer at the same time. Nevertheless, Pete also definitely delivers in a few spots, such as the other highlight Envelopes of Yesterday, which is one of the longest compositions on the album and also lets the instrumental crew come forward some more. In fact, it is the lengthier tracks that turn out best: the shorter ones rely too much on vocals and too little on the talented and large backing crew, which is unfortunately underused on the album.

The majority of Still ponders in that calm sound introduced since the beginning, and provides other decent enough tracks such as Under the Sky and The Piper, but Sinfield moves into more daring areas at a few points. Sometimes, this turns out for the good, such as on the eclectic closer The Night People, with its overwhelming saxophones and equally overwhelming vocals. Predictably, it also turns out for the bad. Will It Be You and Wholefood Boogie are the album’s two lowest points. The former comes dashing in with an sudden country sound, which sounds incredibly silly and doesn’t fit at all with the remainder of the tracks, and the latter has Sinfield going all funkeh. He even does some semi-rapping, and I’m afraid it sounds rather hilarious (obviously not in a good way).

Songs such as these do not really help, as Still is already not carrying some than can be considered even close to superb. The moments that are actually rewarding are too thin-spread, and not good enough to make up for other mistakes. Add up to that that many of the calmer tracks sound a bit samey, and you must conclude this album just isn’t convincing enough to work. Sinfield realized this himself, and made this an one-off occasion. Despite all that, more-than-casual fans of King Crimson will want to give this a listen sometime, as it may not be damn great, but definitely interesting.

Nag’s Choice Cuts:

The Song of the Sea Goat
Still
Envelopes of Yesterday
The Night People




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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
April 8th 2010


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

My apologies in advance to Sputnik's (probable) oldest member Jethro, who really does like this album. Cover art is nice though.

FreePizzaDay
April 8th 2010


1526 Comments


Album cover kicks ass. It looks like what imagine a child between the Loch Ness Monster and Puff the Magic Dragon would look like.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2010


8387 Comments


Nevertheless, there are some enduring moments on the record, be they never as
They're*

Good review, it has been a while since I've read something written by you. Good to see you performing on your usual standards

Nagrarok
April 8th 2010


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Same here, I've been off for a long time also. I don't see what's wrong with the sentence though.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2010


8387 Comments


I think you wanted to say that the good moments this record has aren't far as great as other 1970's prog bands had on their records, and so, your They should be change to They're

It's really just a terribly small nitpick, but something that caught my eye right away

Nagrarok
April 8th 2010


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I shall be stubborn:


Nevertheless, there are some enduring moments on the record, although they're never as good as anything the better-known 70’s progressive artists have put out at their heights.


Here, you need a there, but by using the old-fashioned 'be it/they/pick your choice' structure, it needs to be 'they' instead of 'they're'. Otherwise, the sentence wouldn't make any sense. I believe you can still use the structure in modern English, hehe.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2010


8387 Comments


Well, I admit, I'm not too familiar with old English' grammar rules, so you may very well be right haha

EVedder27
April 8th 2010


6088 Comments


Summary is basically what I said when I clicked on this.

Nagrarok
April 8th 2010


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Jethro told me about this in a Crimson review of mine and I decided to look it up and give it a review afterwards. This just has nothing on Crimson.

NeutralThunder12
April 8th 2010


8742 Comments


no matter how bad this album is (never heard it), and though King Crimson is the most inconsistent band of all time (yes, they are), in their best moments, they are untouchable.

Nagrarok
April 8th 2010


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I actually find them quite consistent considering their ever-changing line-up and sound. I haven't heard much of their work outside of the 70's and the first few 80's albums though, which will obviously change when I dig into those for the rest of the reviews.

Jethro42
April 8th 2010


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes I love this album. Heartfelt piece of work. I'm glad you've covered it even if your rating sadden me. I personaly don't think the songs are alike, and every song has something unique to offer except for #3, 4 and 7. When I bought this I knew it was rather laid back, dreamy folk, dark blues than prog. Sinfield was strongly influenced by the somber compos of Nick Drake. So nothing to do with Crimson music, despite the staff. Imo, if it has to stay unpopular with sputnikers is mainly because the album has sadly paled with time, and it may sound out dated for young people like you ;)
(me, oldest member, it can be. An one of the
few who speaks french too. Yes, I'm afflicted with two minorities)

Nota Bene: Following this album, Sinfield had intended to pursue a solo career, but instead he joined ELP in their need for his precious lyrics.
He also gave his contribution to the famous Italian prog band PFM. The guy is more like a lyricist before being a musician. This album was, is and will always be a special one in my heart.

Jethro42
September 22nd 2010


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sinfield did a lot for both ELP and Premiata Forneria Marconi (see the ProgJect review 'Photos of Ghosts'). Of course, the guy is more well known as an important ex King Crimson member.
Album rules.
here's the link for the famous Italian prog band Premiata Forneria Marconi [PFM] reviewed by ProgJect
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/39104/Premiata-Forneria-Marconi-Photos-of-Ghosts/


Jethro42
February 14th 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But Nag, this is more than a 2.5, just saying.

puertasmagicas
February 15th 2013


61 Comments


So you two are the authorities on everything crimson around here? You disagreeing on the the rating so much makes it sound even more interesting. I'll get my hands on this.

I pos'd, even though I think the review should have mentioned the lyrics, 'cause he IS a lyricist after all.

Jethro42
February 15th 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Go with the songs Nag had recd plus A House of Hopes and Dreams.

ButteryBiscuitBass
February 15th 2013


10163 Comments


Jethro, I prefer Discipline/Larks and Lizard Crimson to In the Court, will I dig this?

Jethro42
February 15th 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This has not much to do with KC. Try these, Buttery;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tmCFYKplY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nbt50B9Qu4

ButteryBiscuitBass
February 15th 2013


10163 Comments


Cheers bro, will check later and let you know.

Jethro42
February 15th 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The guy is a lyricist before anything else. Only a few of the songs can have some light links with KC.



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