Three Of A Perfect Pair

King Crimson

Warner Bros., 1984

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


King Crimson completed their 80s trilogy in 1984 with Three of a Perfect Pair, the third release to feature Adrian Belew as chief singer and co-guitarist. While marginally better than Beat, it never rises to the level of Discipline and is actually one of the weaker releases in the Crimson catalog.

Continuing the theme of Beat, this one features tinny 80s production, bland or awful songwriting and the usual jams that just don't go anywhere. Only three songs of the nine really stand out, and they are among the most pop of Crimson's career...a sign that something wasn't right. No wonder they broke up for a decade after this.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track is promising, a flat-out pop/rock song with the usual off-kilter time signature and odd Crimson signature, featuring Belew's Talking Heads-esque vocals over the solid instrumental interplay. But things fade fast with "Model Man," which sounds like a horrible Police song, and "Man With an Open Heart," which sounds like a bad Cure song. "Nuages" is interesting, though, a slow and moody piece carried by keyboards and a guitar that weave in and out on top of hand percussion. It runs on too long for its own good but it shows the guys were at least trying.

"Sleepless" is the best song, Belew's paranoid vocals narrating over top of some truly wonderful slap bass (about the only time Crimson ever got funky). Had this band been interested in such things, it may have been a single; it certainly would have been better than half of the dreck on the radio in 1984.

But the rest of the album -- all of Side 2, for that matter -- is a nonsensical jumble of jams, off-tune sounds and repetition. "Industry" could have been good if it had been edited, but "Dig Me" and "No Warning" are just boring and strange. The band also desecrates a classic by attempting "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3," which plods along mechanically with none of the quirkiness or muscle of the first two parts.

And the album cover wins the award for Least Creative of 1984. Sheesh.

After this, the band would go their separate ways until 1994, when they reconvened as a "double trio" and released one of the best albums of their career. As such, Three of a Perfect Pair is a low point in the band's catalog, equal to Beat and only a notch above Lizard.

Rating: C-

User Rating: C+


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