As a linchpin of King Crimson since 2013, Jakko Jakszyk is surely living many of the dreams he’s had since first seeing the band as a 13-year-old. He gets to live any residual ones on his solo work, and his first album under his own name in 11 years hosts guest appearances from a Who’s Who of art-prog: Robert Fripp, Gavin Harrison, Mark King (Jakszyk was once in Level 42), Tony Levin, Mel Collins and Peter Hammill (who co-writes one number).
Inevitably, the record is musically proficient. Yet strangely, it’s more engaging when the frenetic busy work eases up and more simple songs are allowed to flourish. Thus The Rotters Club Is Closing Down floats on a calming Canterbury breeze and
The Trouble With Angels takes time to breathe and spread its wings.
Three tracks which began in Crimson writing sessions are jaggedly intricate. Separation is the best of these, and its thundering Crimson tropes are blatant, although there’s a feeling it never quite breaks its banks as it aspires to. If, however, the album strains to find a clear overall identity, its parts do complicated sums with energy and skill. Its secrets take a while to reveal their truths.