Like Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair doesn’t add much to the template the group established on Discipline, but it’s a much more solid album than its predecessor, with stronger material. It’s divided into two halves – the first side is focused on Adrian Belew’s songs, while the second is largely Fripp’s instrumentals.
It’s the first side that’s most immediate – there are a brace of strong Belew songs. Levin’s complex, funky bass barrage opens ‘Sleepless’, ‘Man With An Open Heart’ is hooky and urgent, while the title track grooves along pleasantly. On the second side, there’s the third part of the Larks’ Tongues in Aspic series; the first two parts were featured on 1973’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, while further parts appeared on 21st century albums.
After the underwhelming Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair is a solid rebound for King Crimson’s 1980s lineup. The group would again go on hiatus, not recording another album until 1995’s Thrak.