Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

KING CRIMSON
LIZARD


Released 1970 on ISLAND
Reviewed by EQUIMANTHORN, 16/11/2011ce


Crimsons 3rd lp with yet another line up is a strange beast.Singer/bassist Gordon Haskell has been pissing and moaning for 40 years about how he hated being in King Crimson for this album.He shortly left after this was recorded.
Things take a more jazzy turn for the group with Mel Collins (sax)and Keith Tippet (piano) in the line up.Shit we even have oboe,cor anglais,cornet and trombone players to add to the jazz wank soup.
The whole feel of the album is uneasy and the opener 'Circkus' starts like a musical box and has Haskell sounding queasy on the verses and he struggles with Pete Sinfields lyrics.He sounds more and more pissed off as the song progresses.
When the saxes/mellotrons kick in they honk and sway with a really sinister riff.
Meanwhile with all the evil parping going on Robert Fripp lays waste with some awesome acoustic soloing.

'Indoor games' is relief from the previous chaos.The horns sound like the 80's BBC1 kids show Pigeon street and the song is chirpier for it.Sinfields lyrics are a critique of early 70's hedonism and again Haskell sounds uncomfortable singing them.Why the fuck did he join the band? What was he expecting? Amen corner? His idiotic laughing at the end of the song says everything about his attitude to the music.

'Happy family' is a dig at The Beatles with some doomy descending riffs and thinly veiled lyrical references about the fab fours dissolution.Robotic vocal effects,flute,trombones and chunky piano make this song very discordant and awkward.'Lady of the dancing water' is a simple ballad with some soothing flute and medieval guitars.
Jon Anderson from YES is the guest vocalist for side two's Prince Rupert awakes which is the first of seven sections of the LIZARD concept.Crimson sound easy listening and subdued on the opening song.After this we have no more vocals.The remaining six sections are instrumental. 'Bolero' with awesome brass solos.'The battle of glass tears' with it's three sub sections have stabbing horns and masses of mellotrons to fuck with our heads.Prince Ruperts lament ends with mournful bagpipe sounding solo guitar from Fripp slowly fading out.
Last song is 'Big top' rounding off the circus theme from the start of the lp.
This lp shows that Crimson were willing to try new areas and while not as consistent and downright ball breakingly fucking awesome as their 1973-1974 output LIZARD is worth checking out if you want something truly unique and original.


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