RELEASE
1975
LABEL
JVC Compact Discs
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Art Rock, Prog-Rock

Album Review

As Robert Fripp had done with King Crimson's first live LP, Earthbound (1972), USA (1974) is a single-disc concert package documenting the quartet during its most concurrent swing through North America. As with its predecessor, USA was also issued as a sonic cenotaph of the concurrently defunct Krim. So insistent that the band would not be resurrected, Fripp concluded the LP's liner notes at the time with another three-letter epitaph: "R.I.P." The 1973/1974 King Crimson included the collective efforts of Fripp (guitar/mellotron), David Cross (violin), John Wetton (bass/vocals), and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion). USA also includes notable violin overdubs by Eddie Jobson on the tracks "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" and "21st Century Schizoid Man," as well as electric piano addendums to "Lament." The opening drone -- indexed as "Walk On....No Pussyfooting" for the 30th anniversary release in 2002 -- re-creates the typical performance prelude, which is lifted directly from the Fripp and Brian Eno sonic sculpture No Pussyfooting (1973). The brusque juxtaposition of the ethereal opening to the aggressive "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" jolts the audience into the rips and snorts found during this tautly rendered instrumental. The readings of "Lament" and "Exiles" demonstrate this band's overwhelming sonic sensibilities. They are able to contrast and incorporate thick, viscous melodies and rhythms with alternately underlying sensitive, as well as ultimately beautiful, musical responses. A majority of the release is taken from a performance on June 28, 1974, at the Casino in Asbury Park, NJ, with the notable exception of "21st Century Schizoid Man," which was recorded two nights later at the Palace Theater in Providence, RI. The previously mentioned 30th anniversary edition marks the legitimate digital debut of USA. The extended CD format allows for the addition of "Fracture" and "Starless" from the Casino show. Additional live recordings of this band can be found on the four-disc The Great Deceiver collection and Night Watch, as well as Live in Central Park, NYC '74 and Live in Mainz 1974 from the King Crimson Collectors' Club.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. II
  2. Lament
  3. Exiles
  4. Asbury Park
  5. Easy Money
  6. 21st Century Schizoid Man