Sound — 8
In the Wake of Poseidon is King Crimson's second album. By this time the band was well known for its progressive feel, the blending of influences outside of rock and blues into their songs, and their ability to change the sound from choatic and intense to serene and calm without losing the feel. Although only the bands second album, and even though the first one was quite amazing, we already see the bands first lineup change. Greg Lake, the original vocalist and bassist left to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but agreed to sing for the album. Also, the original woodwinds, brass, and keyboard player Ian McDonald left the band. Although the bands members have changed, it doesn't mean the sound of the album does. For the most part the album keeps the same feel and power that you got from the first album. Although this is a great thing, it's also a bit of a letdown as you feel like you're getting a lot of the same instead of something new that you might have expected. A great aspect of this album is King Crimson's ability to blend a lot of different styles into their music. Instead of the usual blues based rock that you heard from most bands of that era, we hear them blend aspects of jazz (Pictures of a City) and even classical (The Devil's Triangle). This is great because you won't be getting the same of what you would from the other bands, you're getting a really unique experience thats different but still amazing. For instrumentation, Robert Fripp on guitar is amazing as usual. His guitar playing isn't usually fast-paced shredding, loud, or even the focus of the music. In fact, it's quite the opposite, it's usually parts being played to support the rest of the band while still remaining a key part of the sound. On drums, we have Michael Giles, who is an absolutely amazing drummer. Whenever he plays, it's for a reason, and whether its a drum solo or a beat in the background, what he plays is always perfect and helps pull the music together and make it sound great. His brother, Peter Giles, plays bass for the album. Although in my opinion not as good as Greg Lake, he still plays well and what he plays helps the music be what it is. Mel Collins on flute and sax does a great job playing in a way that fits with the music and adds to it. Finally (yeah, I know, there was a lot) we have Keith Tippet on piano. It is clear that he is the focus of much of the music, and his playing is one of the key parts that gives us the melody. Overall, this albums sound is great. From the beautiful "Cadence and Cascade", to the epic title track "In the Wake of Poseidon", to the crazy "Cat Food", this album is full of great songs that will grab your attention. Although the album is almost TOO similar to its predecessor, and sometimes the craziness of the music can be a turn off, overall Robert Fripp and King Crimson as a whole did a great job with this album.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics, written by Peter Sinfield, are full of metaphors and deep meanings, as well as just being plain crazy. Often the lyrics will catch your attention because they are somewhat cryptic and feel like they have a deeper meaning. Other times you'll be wondering why Greg Lake keeps screaming "cat food! cat food!" over and over again. It might seem crazy, but it catches you attention and will stick in your head for a while. The lyrics are great, often wacky, but great. For actual vocals, we have Greg Lake. Like usual he is amazing with his tone, range, and just plain skill. Without him I don't think this album would have been nearly as good. There's not much to critique about his skill. We also have Gordon Haskell singing vocals on "Cadence and Cascade", who does a great job, his voice really fitting in with the soft and serene sound of the song.
Overall Impression — 8
It's impossible to get better from perfection, so if you were expecting something better then "In the Court of the Crimson King" you won't be getting it. That aside however, this is still a great album. Full of great songs like "Cadence and Cascade" and of course "In the Wake of Poseidon", it will really leave you wanting more. The first time through listening to this I wasn't really paying attention, and so didn't get too much from it. But like with all King Crimson music, when you actually take the time to listen to everything - the sound, the lyrics, the structure, all of the idividual instruments - you realize that it's so much more then you originally thought it to be. So yes, if you're a fan of King Crimson this album is certainly worth the money, just don't be expecting too much of it.