King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), 6/10

While I appreciate and enjoy the complexity of King Crimson’s music, it can be a strength and a weakness depending on the strength of songwriting. Here I find it to be inconsistent. Great at times and in others severely lacking impact. The bookending title track’s two-part piece, for instance, is nothing short of stunningly moving every time you hear it, but “Book of Saturday” and “The Talking Drum” are a burden to get through even once. The former sapping energy out of the album just after the electric shock that is the opener, the latter leaning too hard into a riff that is not worth a seven-minute meandering and becomes frustrating less than halfway through. The others, “Exiles” and “Easy Money”, sound like classically endearing King Crimson tracks, like they could have been cut from In the Court of the Crimson King. They are subtle and nuanced, but accessible enough to sustain and carry individual weight within the album. The title track has enough strength to make the album great, especially the first section’s swaying dynamics and precise design. It’s at its best when it is heavy and complex but fails when it submits to simplicity and delicacy. Still, one of the better King Crimson records and worth exploring.