Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair (1984)

I thought perhaps of writing a review in consideration of the holidays, but since I'm not technically writing this anywhere near Christmas and I'm becoming a bit weary of this business, I'm going to simply say nasty clever things about a band I actually like. Or try to. The man and his kingdom of poo will undoubtedly put up a spirited defense in my absence and so I will parry in advance by saying: duh!

Here's a bit of curlicue logic, so follow me: Fripp never intended to reform KC and had instead formed a band to be called Discipline, which resulted instead in Fripp realizing he had merely reformed KC and they thereunto released the excellent Discipline as KC, circa 1981. Discipline was a dizzying amalgam of tautly conceived tunes featuring lovely arpeggios, delicious bass blurblings and the odd vocal croonings of Adrian Belew. Ever drank powdered Gatorade? When I was in Iraq I used to mix powdered Gatorade into a water bottle particularly because I became disgusted with plain water. Well, sometimes I would be in the unenviable position of drinking most of it and having additional water available, but no extra powder. So what I would do is pour a little bit of water from one bottle into the one I had, hoping to get more bang for my buck. Invariably, it tasted a little less sweet, but was still more bearable than plain water. Still having no access to powder, I would pour just a touch more water into the bottle. The result of my gambling? Colored water. Yuck.

So if you want to listen to Three Of A Perfect Pair, you will be drinking colored water -- a thoroughly diluted mutation of an original with barely any trace of what tasted so good about it in the first place. I obviously won't go more into why Discipline was so good, because that's another review, but be aware that, as my additional aside, Beat (1982), is the equivalent of slightly less sweet admixture before it became ruined. There. F


Jeff said...

I can't listen to anything from Discipline on. Belew's voice just doesn't do it for me, but even looking past his voice this album sucks as does Beat. I would have preferred that the band change their name after Red, but regardless, everything from In the Court of the Crimson King to Red was outstanding.

The Mad Hatter said...

Wow, even Discipline? I agree that Belew is a bit misplaced generally, but it's still an excellent album musically. Otherwise, yeah, Beat is weak, this one is definitely their worst and Thrak, ConstruKction Of Light and Power To Believe are fairly mediocre. Part of my disappointment with this new incarnation is that they are more vocally centric than the 70s stuff ever was.

taotechuck said...

Interesting timing on this one. I just heard "Elephant Talk" from Discipline for the first time today.

(Digression: KC is one of those bands that I've heard in passing, but I'm just never in the mood to either listen to them or buy any of their records. Thus, one could say I know of KC without actually knowing them.)

I heard "Elephant Talk," of all places, on the radio.

(Digression #2: Baltimore is blessed with what has to be one of the finest radio stations on the FM spectrum: WTMD.)

Not having heard Discipline before, I assumed that either (a) this song was by Primus, and in the 10+ years since I last listened to Primus, they stopped sucking, or (b) this song was by Primus, and I've gone sufficiently deaf to think they sound good.

I was shocked to learn it was KC. At last, I knew what Primus could've sounded like if they'd actually been good instead of over-rated and annoying.

Master Cianan said...

Well, as for me swinging in through a window and coming to this album's defense, all I can really say (and all that I ever said, I believe) is that I dig Adrian Belew's playing 100%. It's no discipline, but between Fripp, Levin, and Belew, it's a fine ride. And didn't Bill Bruford play drums for this one? I like Bill Bruford. It isn't as taut or sleek as they could have made it, but it's a fun exercise in listening to great players playing.

Jeff said...

I think Discipline is good musically, but the voice is just way too harsh for me. On the other hand, I did like Power to Believe a lot. It doesn't match their work from the 70s, but I think it was their best effort in a very long time.

The Mad Hatter said...


That's funny. Primus isn't my cup of tea, either, but I've never once associated post-1974 KC with them. And thinking on it now, yeah, Primus does sound like a worse version. I guess now when people say, what do you think of Primus? -- I can say that they're nothing more than an overrated shitty version of KC during the 80s.

Master Cianan,

No biggy, bro. I just like messing with you. What you did actually say was that this was your favorite KC album, even over Discipline, which you steered me towards.


Too harsh? You mean in contrast to the music? I find Belew out of place at times, like a plastic tuba in an orchestra.

Master Cianan said...

I did? Well, it may have been then, but it sure isn't now. Discipline is my favorite for sure. It's my favorite lineup, and it's a bit less sprawled than their earlier stuff. As time goes on, I find myself more and more enamored of economy and fewer bells and whistles.

Starrlight said...

Ouch. Colored water analogy - that is pretty harsh. I like it ;)