2020 has been a terrible year. Fortunately the music of 2020 has been amazing. InsideOut has released a lot of great albums this year and here’s a look at one of the latest. Current King Crimson frontman Jakko Jakszyk took avantage of the lack of Crimson touring to record another solo album, “Secrets & Lies.” Jakszyk is a talent in his own right so it’s great for him to get the spotlight.
Jakszyk has an amazing voice which is all about the rich tone and his ability to emote. Of course he is one of the guitarists in Crimson so yes he is an amazing player as well. The music on “Secrets & Lies” is very much about the song versus some great virtuosity. Sure there’s amazing playing. You have Robert Fripp, Gavin Harrison, Tony Levin, and Mel Collins of King Crimson plus Mark King (Level 42) and Peter Hammill (VDGG), so there’s all kinds of musicality.
But there’s memorable hooks and great melodies as well. “Before I Met You” is a menacing opener and a great tune with Levin on bass. “The Trouble With Angels” could have been on the “A Scarcity Of Miracles” album which he recorded as part of Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins. That project led to Crimson’s reformation. “Fools Mandate” has a Peter Gabriel vibe while “The Rotters Club Is Closing Down” is just a great ballad. The latter has some very tasty guitar lines…and isn’t that Fripp in the background?
“Uncertain Times” actually reminds me of something off of the Sylvian / Fripp album “The First Day.” Harrison’s drumming on the whole album is amazing but he adds something very Crimson to this song. There isn’t a way to escape the amount of Crimson DNA that’s all over and through “Secrets & Lies.” This especially comes from Jakszyk. It goes even beyond that he has been a member. The influence is a part of him which is why he has been a great fit for the band. Another highlight of the album is the chorus of “It Would All Make Sense” which would not sound out of place on a John Wetton album. The guitar solos on that song are also stunning.
“Secrets, Lies & Stolen Memories” has some stellar orchestration by Nigel Hopkins which provides a bed for Jakszyk’s guitar to lift off and soar from. It’s a well placed instrumental and points out that he could have a soundtrack career. “Under Lock & Key” is very Gabriel-esque rhythmically, and has another great vocal too. It was written with Fripp and has his fingerprints all over it.
The mostly a capella “The Borders We Traded” has layers and layers of backing vocals which shows yet another side of Jakszyk’s talent. This leads to “Trading Borders,” a song written by his daughter, Amber, who also plays piano on the song. It’s a lovely instrumental with a Celtic slant to it. The album closes with the Fripp / Jakszyk song “Separation.” It sounds like King Crimson because it was written for the band. Add in the band plays on it…you have a Crimson song in all but name. A definite highlight.
It goes without saying that if you love King Crimson, you really need to check out “Secrets & Lies.” But this also makes an excellent way for prog fans who have never checked out that band to get a safe entrance. “Secrets & Lies” is the not a King Crimson album but like any member of that band, the music has a flow and vibe that is unmistakable. We may not have a new King Crimson studio album but this will definitely do.
1. Before I Met You (05:41)
2. The Trouble With Angels (05:30)
3. Fools Mandate (04:13)
4. The Rotters Club Is Closing Down (04:06)
5. Uncertain Times (05:00)
6. It Would All Make Sense (05:25)
7. Secrets, Lies & Stolen Memories (02:45)
8. Under Lock & Key (04:06)
9. The Borders We Traded (03:05)
10. Trading Borders (02:32)
11. Separation (06:43)
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: October 23rd, 2020