Monday, August 07, 2006

King Crimson

The Power to Believe

The latest slab from this nearly 40 year old prog-rock band that proves it can still take on all newcomers to the field. As Fripp has often stated, King Crimson comes together when they have relevant music to play and/or things to say. And this time around this thematically tied together album seems to be about our beliefs and perceptions, faith and the mass spectacle society. Level Five, the album's opener after a brief a capella of the thematic motif, is a Red-like scorcher that proves that no one but Robert Fripp can coax cello-like nuances from his guitar at one moment and frenzied, terror shrieks the next.
In fact, this whole album hearkens back to earlier periods of KC's history. The device of stringing this outing together with the Power to Believe I,II and the Coda are reminiscent of the Peace chorus on In the Wake of Poseidon. Level Five rather resembles the title track from 1974's Red.
Not that this is a derivative or nostalgic album by any means; there is enough here that would give Tool, Mars Volta, et al, a run for their money. The pastoral sounding Eyes Wide Open is one of Adrian Belew's most beautiful songs yet, and seems a very appropriate song for a post-9-11 world.The aggro-sounding Facts of Life seems to transcribe the rationale of the Project for the New American Century, with the lyrics:
Six billion ants, crawling on a plate/ Six billion ants, crawling on a plate, /none of them give back as much as they take.
The very post-modern (for a prog-rock band) Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With, complete with amusing placeholder fill-in-the-blanks lyrics, has one of the catchiest, most life affirming choruses to date.

21st Century Schizoid Band


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