Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon [Atlantic, 1970]
For a long time I thought this was the worst rock band in history simply because it was the most pretentious, but sometimes pretensions are (at least partially) earned. Their second album is more muddled conceptually than In the Court of the Crimson King, quite a feat. But they're not afraid to be harsh, they command a range of styles, and their dynamics jolt rather than sledgehammer (properly electric, that). Also, they can play: kudos to drummer Michael Giles and guitarist Robert Fripp, who also illustrates the old adage, "Better a Mellotron than real strings." C+