Rolling Stone review- THRAK


Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 03:49:14 -0700
From: aschul at ix dot netcom dot com (Arnold Schulberg)
Subject: Rolling Stone review- THRAK
>From Rolling Stone magazine, Issue 711 dated June 29, 1995

THRAK- 3 stars

"The last incarnation of art-rock pioneers King Crimson made for a rare
union of power and precision, crafting three early-'80s albums- Discipline,
Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair- that were Promethean feats in a dreary
time. With THRAK, King Crimson have re- emerged from the interregnum with
their passionate virtuosity grayed but not gone.

The new-model King Crimson assume an expanded format: Spiritual leader and
guitarist Robert Fripp and singer-guitarist Adrian Belew are joined by
their past associates, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Bill Bruford, along
with new members Trey Gunn on stick and Pat Mastellotto on
percussion. Fueled by crashing rhythms and high-octane riffs, THRAK's
opening instrumental, "VROOOM," is a mix of melody and mayhem that proves
these veterans can keep pace with young noisemakers when it comes to
well-wrought sonic violence.

A future Crimson manifesto can be gleaned from the barbed hooks and ominous
textures of the album's third track, "Dinosaur." On the bridge, Belew
pre-empts questions of continued relevance with a self-deprecating
exposition on the fate of the aging but still evolving art rocker: "It's a
wonder I'm not yet extinct...Still, I've made my fossil bed and I toss and
turn." That said, King Crimson bound stylistic borders as few bands can,
veering into an interlude of ambient symphonics before a searing Fripp
guitar solo pins you to the wall.

Throughout THRAK, Fripp's frozen-rope leads and the band's intricate din
are as potent as ever. But for the most part, Belew trades his
Discipline-era notes-from-the- underground lyrical style for clever
pop-song haiku. The lilting love paean "Walking on Air and the pedestrian
observations of "People" seem dispensable next to the industrial fusion of
"VROOOM" or soundtracks for the concrete jungle like the onomatopoeic title
cut.

The potential of King Crimson's renewal is most fully realized with the
grinding close of "VROOOM VROOOM" and its coda, in which the band twists
the themes of the opening piece into so much bent metal. It's the artful
abandon of these final moments that bode best for the longevity of this
egghead-banging outfit."

Sure are a lot of hyphenated conjugations there, fellow eggheads.

Arnie Schulberg


Mike Stok