King Crimson
Larks' Tongues in Aspic


4.5
superb

Review

by e210013 USER (116 Reviews)
August 5th, 2019 | 35 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is an album that represents another incarnation of King Crimson. It’s one of the most experimental prog albums of the early 70’s.

“Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” is the fifth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross, Jamie Muir and Richard Palmer-James.


After King Crimson have released their two first studio albums “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, considered by many the first prog rock album, and “In The Wake Of Poseidon”, considered by some a remake of their debut, occurred the first major change on the line up of the group. With the new line up the band released two more studio albums “Lizard” and “Islands”. After that the band disbanded and seemed as though King Crimson finally have come to an end.

So, the previous King Crimson’s line up had broke completely up after the release of their live album “Earthbound” and Robert Fripp was left completely on his own. He used some time to gather together a new line up that included Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross. The first version of this line up has also included Jamie Muir on various percussions. The new King Crimson played progressive rock of a kind and in a way that no other band had done before them. Their new style was often based in very heavy and loud riffs built around raw and freaked out improvisations, and sounded very refreshing. So, this new incarnation of the band is also a key album in the band’s evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation, as central influences. This line up lasted during two years and released three studio albums, “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic”, “Starless And Bible Black” and “Red”, and a live album “USA”, before the lead member Robert Fripp temporarily have disbanded the group from 1974 until 1981.

“Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” showed several significant changes in King Crimson’s lyrics and sound. In relation to the lyrics, Pete Sinfield having left the fold, the lyric writing is contributed by Richard Palmer-James. Richard’s lyrics are less ambiguous and therefore more human than those of his occasionally verbose predecessor. Relatively to the music, the differences are much more significant. Having previously relied on saxophone and flute of Mel Collins as significant melodic and textural instruments, the band had replaced them with a single violin played by David Cross. Jamie Muir’s percussion rig featured exotic, eccentric instrumentation including chimes, bells, thumb piano, a musical saw, shakers, rattles, found objects like sheet metal, toys and baking trays, plus miscellaneous drums and chains, bringing to King Crimsons’ music a new exotic and different sound. The mellotron, a staple part of King Crimson’s instrumentation since their debut album, was retained for this new phase and was played either by Robert Fripp or David Cross, both of whom also played electric piano. The band’s multi instrumentalism is particularly evident on these both great musicians.

“Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” has six tracks. The two title tracks are both good examples of their new style which, as I said, was often based in very heavy and loud riffs built around raw and freaked out improvisations. It features some of the best guitar riffs Fripp ever wrote. We may say this is an experimental eclectic song clearly influenced by jazz, classical, heavy and oriental music. It’s perhaps the best experimental song in their career and is absolutely brilliant. It’s hard to believe how incredible this song is and how is so perfect to open and close this great album. But the band could also be melodic and harmonic, as clearly demonstrated in the beautiful “Exiles”. It has a delicate and beautiful melody with the powerful use of the mellotron that reminds me their second studio album “In The Wake Of Poseidon”. This is a must for those who like King Crimson’s melodic side. “Book Of Saturday” is a simple, calm and nice song where we can relax. It’s well sung but there is no longer anything remarkable on this song to highlight. “Easy Money” is a powerful rocker complete with mellotron and a catchy vocal riff. The track seems a bit strange but gradually it grows up and becomes very interesting. It’s a good song but isn’t as good as the previous others. “The Talking Drum” is also a very good instrumental track but it hasn’t, in me, the same emotional effect that some other songs had on me before.


Conclusion: Despite “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” be, in my opinion, one of the best King Crimson’s studio albums, it isn’t a truly masterpiece as “In The Court Of The Crimson King” and “Red” are. Why" Because, it has two songs, “Easy Money” and especially “The Talking Drum” with some quality inferior to the rest of the album. However, this is a great album with a fantastic line up of musicians, one of my favourites together with the line up of their debut studio album “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, and it has also some of the best musical moments composed and performed by the group in their long career. Everything sounds great. Every instrument is being heard. It’s not like some other artists around. The guitar must be the only thing you hear in the whole song. No, Fripp is more of a composer than a guitarist. Besides, and despite what I said before, “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” is an album amazingly performed by all musicians.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After the break due to Friday's prog tourney, it's now time to return to my Yes prog journey, at the point where I had left it, some projects where Bill Bruford was involved, besides Yes.

As we know, Bruford had an amazing prog career. Very few were abble and had the opportunity to participate in so numerous and important prog projects. But above all, he made part of two of the most carismathic and influential prog bands, Yes and King Crimson.

So, I would have to review an album of King Crimson in the first time with him on the band. Of course my first option would be naturally "Red", one of best and most influential prog albums ever and one of my favourites too. However, I had already reviewed it before on Sputnik two years ago. Thus, I decided to chose "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" because it was the first one with him in the band and I think it's a bit beter than "Starless And Bible Black".

I hope you enjoy the review and that it can be an opportunity to many of you revisit this great prog album of this excellent prog band.

Your comments are always welcome, as usual.

dwightfryed
August 5th 2019


69 Comments


nice job!

Digging: James Gang - Yer' Album

MotokoKusanagi
August 5th 2019


1999 Comments


nice review, one of the best crimson albums!

wham49
August 5th 2019


4731 Comments


the album that got me into them, i didnt get it until I finally spun this, now i can dig them all

MotokoKusanagi
August 5th 2019


1999 Comments


both king crimson and tool now on spotify, what a time to be alive

hey there whamo

wham49
August 5th 2019


4731 Comments


what up motoman

I would Say red or islands are my 2 fave today, this is always top 3 or 4

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dwight. Nice to see you on one of my reviews.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"nice review, one of the best crimson albums!"

Absolutely. This is an amazing band, really. Thanks for your comment Moto.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't know that wham. This is really a surprising and great news. All their albums are great. They always were ahead of their time, really.

Thanks, bro.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ wham

I only saw now your last comment. I'm very glad that you like "Islands". I always thought that it was an unappreciated work of them. I always thought that it was unfair. "Islands" is a very beautiful album and represents a single work on their discography. Maybe one day I review it too, since I think it deserves much more attention, really.

Helentroy
August 5th 2019


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, Helen. Nice to see you on my reviews. Welcome with your comments.

Jethro42
August 5th 2019


15947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just like you, my least favorite here is ''The Talking Drum''. It's a bit hypnotic and it's a good thing, but it goes nowhere, without any climax or punch. ''Easy Money'', on the other hand, is a highlight for me. Bill Bruford is outstanding and really makes a difference to that old KC material, as he did in earlier KC generations. I really like that line up with John Wetton and David Cross, and I have only good things to say for all the ''Larks Tongues in Aspic'' songs composed through the years in their catalog.

Great review for a great album, bro. A top 3 for sure. i'm close to give it a classic status.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Jethro. King Crimson is really an amazing band. As you said once, long life to the eclectic prog. And I would say, long life to bands in the same vein of KC, VDDG and GG.

Jethro42
August 5th 2019


15947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes my man, eclectic prog rules. It needs great musicians... It usually flirts with pretty much all the prog subgenres, and there are so many odd time signatures, tempo shiftings and variation within the same song, and also variation and changes from a song to another. You named some big ones there. You could also name Quarteto 1111, Beardfish, Birds and Buildings, A.C.T, The Tangent, Maneige, Yezda Urfa, Bubu and several bands from the RPI. So yeah, just like you, I can't get enough of it!...

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I sign underneath of what you said my friend. And as you said that we can even add some more names that comes to my mind of the classic prog era, such as Peter Hammill, Steve Hackett, UK, SBB, Island, Gnidrolog, Traffic and Manfred Mann's Earth Band, or some new bands like Daal, Nemo, Gosta Berlings Saga, Diagonal and Not A Good Sign. Some of them were brought by you or by Friday's prog tourneys. The list is almost infinite, really.

TheGamer
August 5th 2019


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice job pal.

e210013
August 5th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, man. Welcome to my reviews.

smaugman
August 6th 2019


5022 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not a big fan of this album. they fuck around too much

e210013
August 6th 2019


2506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice to see you again, pal. You disappeared for some time. Greetings. I disagree but it's always a pleasure to see different opinions.



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