For the first time in their career, King Crimson sported the same lineup for two consecutive albums. Correspondingly, for the first time in their career, King Crimson created an album that’s a lesser facsimile of their previous album. Beat is relatively straitlaced after the experimental pieces on Discipline, and it also lacks the standout songs. It still has the impressive ensemble playing of Discipline – Bruford’s cool percussion and Fripp’s Frippertronics guitar style – but it’s less engrossing overall.
The first side of Beat is strong – ‘Sartori in Tangier’ is a complex, impressive instrumental, while ‘Heartbeat’ slows down for an emotional new wave song. On the second side, ‘Neurotica’ has squalls of guitar noise and enjoyably paranoid lyrics from Belew. If you really enjoyed Discipline, by all means check out Beat – it’s just a less impressive record in the same style as its predecessor.