The initial pressing of LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC is packaged in a cardboard-stock gatefold sleeve.
King Crimson: John Wetton (vocals, bass); Robert Fripp (guitar, Mellotron, percussion); David Cross (violin, viola, Mellotron); Bill Bruford (drums); Jamie Muir (percussion).
After the transitional ISLANDS, LARK'S TONGUES began the third Crimson phase that ended with RED. The quartet of David Cross, John Wetton, Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford (augmented on LARK'S TONGUES by madman percussionist Jamie Muir) is regarded as the most innovative of Crimson's many lineups, offering hard-edged improvisations on an unprecedented level. With founding member/lyricist Pete Sinfield departed, Robert Palmer-James stepped in with a more cutting, concise lyrical approach that matched the group's uncompromising instrumental precision.
The album opens with part one of the title track and closes with part two, and it's a tour de force that would become a KC milestone. Indicative of the band's mid-'70s sound it features Fripp's laser-like art-metal guitar crunch bobbing and weaving around Wetton's thick, Jack Bruce-like bass lines, Bruford's confounding polyrhythms and Cross' ethereal violin. Each member challenges the others as the band is collectively driven into uncharted, often surprising terrain. As always, there are a couple of beautiful ballads. "Book of Saturday" and "Exiles" benefit from elegant, soaring melodies and Wetton's emotive Greg-Lake-after-50-cigarettes vocal style. LARK'S TONGUES marked a new direction for the band and is easily among their finest efforts.
Q (11/00, p.129) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Much of this sounds curiously, like latter-day post-rock, with gorgeous pastoral moments and jagged guitar crescendos....envincing a lofty...ambition which they rarely, if ever, matched again."
The Wire (10/00, p.77) - "...The extrasensory 'instrumental' prowess of peak King Crimson is what is rewarding here..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/01, p.60) - "...Huge dynamic leaps, fiendish rhythmic twists, odd time signatures and solos that seem to erupt from nowhere....As a document of an outfit way ahead of its time, the record still packs a powerful punch..."