the power to believe
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The motif of the album is in the four short versions of "The Power To Believe". The first is meek and sweet with Eastern percussion while the last concludes the session with Fripp's guitar soaring like a solo violin and a whole variety is in between. "Level Five" displays the tight, almost violently aggressive sound King Crimson has nearly patented. It's a great opener.
Of course, there are plenty of great prog-rock songs such as "Eyes Wide Open", a harken back to "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and "Facts Of Life" with cynical lyrics that made fun of the rich and greedy ("six millionaires crawling on a plate") and immorality ("just because you can doesn't mean you should").
'Newbie boy bands' get skewered on "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With", with lyrics like, "I'm gonna have to write a chorus, We're gonna need to have another chorus...". It's nicely vicious. Not all is parody, as is shown with a great progressive build of a song with an urgent crescendo in "Dangerous Curves".
Adrian Belew is obviously having a good time and is a great compliment to Fripp's guitar work. Trey Gunn is amazing with all his bass instruments and Pat Mastelotto is extremely confident. Mastelotto may not have the flash that Bill Bruford displays, but his competency and pinpoint accuracy more than makes up for it. This 'King Crimson' grouping is just as tight as any and it's great to hear more innovative and fascinating mixes of talent and instruments thirty years on.
Didn't think too much of it on listen 2
By the sixth or seventh it was beginning to make a great deal of sense.
Anyone expecting this to sound like any previous incarnation of KC would be better off buying the archival stuff - what this is is a distillation of the sound on Construcktion of Light, but with a more sophisticated approach, and a more relaxed interplay between the musicians. And because it gives the impression of "trying less hard" (more concise pieces of music, no tracks named after old 70's stuff, no griping about their fanbase a la "Prozack Blues") it succeeds for me much more than I was previously expecting.
Big kudos to the rhythm section - Mastellotto's drumming is on first listen more pedestrian than Bruford's, but his palette of sounds is fascinating, and his playing is a real pleasure to listen to. Gunn manages to sound nothing like a bass player most of the time, yet this is quite a bottom-frequency heavy beast.
Belew and Fripp have been doing the double guitar thing for well over 20 years now, and it shows. There appears to be an almost telepathic understanding in terms of arrangement and performance, and it's great to hear.
Standout tracks? Dangerous Curves, Happy to be..., and the nods to the past at the beginning of Elektrik, and Power to Believe 2.
It's a fine album. And a grower. And I usually find that they're the best.
From the outset you can sense there's something special about this record. Adrian Belew's haunting yet romantic 'haiku' (referring to a lady who "saved my life in a manner of speaking") leads into "Level Five", a labyrinthine instrumental that winds it's way through rhythms and harmonies not far removoved from The ConstruKction Of Light's epic "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part IV".
"Eyes Wide Open" is slightly extended and somewhat more orchestrated than it's companion on the 'Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With EP', with a beautifully executed solo section and some imaginative drumming from the chamelionic Pat Mastelotto. At it's base it is simply a lovely song, showcasing Belew's angelic voice. "Elektrik" opens with a familiar sounding harmonised flute-like melody (perhaps this is an oblique reference to the debut record of 35 years ago?) and builds to a collosally heavy climax.
"Facts Of Life" opens with a Soundscape which, I believe, is "The Outer Darkness" from Fripp's Soundscapes release "The Gates Of Paradise. Needless to say, if you enjoy this opening, get Fripp's soundscapes releases. The song piece itself brings the blues back to the Crimsons, but this is a million miles away from the "ProzaKc Blues" already encountered on the last album. It's down, it's dirty, and tells it like it is.
The title track reprises again, beginning with an eastern-flavoured melody underpinned by some typically odd sci-fi sounds from Mr Mastelotto. This is eventually relegated to reveal beautiful percussion very similar to "Shoganai" from the EP (light bell sounds intertwining - I believe Mastelotto and Belew both contribute rhythm on this track) over which the vocal theme returns.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a Crimson fan, but I was still surprised at how good this album is. The musicianship was always going to be good, but the music is phenomenal. Read morePublished on 5 May 2014 by JNP
Released in 2003, KC's `The Power to Believe' features the same Fripp-Belew-Gunn-Mastelotto quartet as its immediate predecessor `The Construkction of Light'. Read morePublished on 19 Oct. 2013 by The Guardian
So, It's just King Crimson. Every time excellent. " When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album."
- Bill Bruford, 1995
King Crimson (maybe more specifically Mr Fripp) are possibly the only band capable of releasing an amazing album this far into their career! Read morePublished on 4 April 2012 by Steve28
Now; I am not a huge fan of any of King Crimson's influences, I don't listen to Holst or Jazz, I find the improvisation is the worst part of their wide and varied... Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2006 by Kingcrimsonprog
Thirty years or more after the first King Crimson band, Robert Fripp and friends (Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto this time round) came up with another masterpiece with... Read morePublished on 13 Dec. 2005 by Tim Burness
The Court of the Crimson King still sends shivers up my spine and brings the occasional tear to the eye - and I thought those days had long gone - back in the mists of the late... Read morePublished on 25 Jan. 2005 by Mark Shackelford