- Audio CD (23 Feb. 2009)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: DGM/PANEGYRIC
- ASIN: B00064WSO6
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,445 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Three Of A Perfect Pair
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Reissue of King Crimson's THREE OF a PERFECT PAIR originally released in 1984 as part of the recorded trilogy begun by DISCIPLINE (1981) and BEAT (1982). Includes bonus tracks: "The King Crimson Barber Show," "Industrial zone," "Sleepless" and more!
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The original album was divided into two halves. `Left Side' has five songs, very much in the rhythmic dance style of `Beat', very Talking Heads, very 1980s. The title track, `Model Man' and `Sleepless' are all good songs with a strong groove; the slower, more melodic synth-dominated `Nuages' (Clouds) closes the set.
`Right Side' is more experimental. Here the band's attempts to resurrect the instrumental noodlings of the Wetton-Cross era succeed only in part. The atonal discordancy might be described as `challenging' to listen to (I invite any listener who genuinely enjoys `Dig Me' or `No Warning' to own up now. What, no takers?). With `Larks' Tongues in Aspic III' however, the band does almost connect with the spirit of their earlier 70s incarnation, but the result doesn't quite hit the mark like LTiA I&II. The command of complex time-signatures and key changes is there, but the fiery energy which characterizes the earlier works is somehow missing.
The 30th Anniversary remix also includes `The Other Side' as extra material. The best bit here is `The King Crimson Barber Shop' in which the band members sing unaccompanied in harmony and poke fun at themselves. The remainder consists of `Industrial Zone A' and `B' (more atonal instrumental noodling and definitely not easy listening) and three different mixes of `Sleepless', none of which better the original album track.
`3 of a Perfect Pair' rounds off KC's distinctive 1980s period, so completists will obviously want it in their collections. If asked to choose one of the three as a place to start, my recommendation would be the melodic and fresh-sounding `Discipline' which is a great landmark of an album - though some argue persuasively for the follow-up `Beat'. Despite some fine moments 3oaPP overall is far from perfect; lacking a cohesive theme it's just OK but no better.
I decided to revise ToaPP to see if my disdain for this particular album had been justified, and I would say: almost.
This album does have its moment, for sure. The first side is a nice blend of eighties pop with that Crimson sound we all know and love. It's good - and the lyrics have that typical slightly-mysterious, very-depressive edge that you would expect from a KC album. I particularly like "Man with an Open Heart" - in fact, the title track and "Model Man" are very listenable.
Then there's side two. Well, this is very much a love-it or hate-it side. Unfortunately, I hate it; the second half of this album is far too industrial for my tastes - this was the style that KC developed from the off, but it just doesn't sound as good - it sounds far too "metallic", maybe even grating.
This is not a bad album by any means, but as I said in the title, it is very difficult to recommend to someone. If you like this sort of thing, I am sure it is pretty good at what it does. I suspect most people will not. It would be a pretty disastrous introduction to King Crimson, which is a shame, because they have a huge amount to offer. I suspect that the fan-base for this album is significantly smaller than that for their earlier albums.
Maybe I just don't "get it", but I can't imagine I'm alone in that category. I can't recommend it. Perhaps "hate" is too strong. It doesn't offend me, but I certainly wouldn't keep the entire album in my music library. Wouldn't throw the CD away either.
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