When originally issued in the summer of 1972, Earthbound was the first authorized live recording from this no longer extant incarnation of the band. This album documents King Crimson's stateside performances earlier in that year. However, what is lacked in fidelity is more than compensated for with raw, unrelenting energy and magnetic musicianship. At the time of their then-most-recent studio effort, Islands (1971), King Crimson comprised Robert Fripp (guitar), Mel Collins (sax/Mellotron), Boz Burrell (bass/vocals), and Ian Wallace (drums). The quartet's strength as improvisational members of a cohesive central unit are amply displayed throughout every sonic twist and turn. The collection likewise demonstrates their intuitive instrumental prowess on familiar album tracks such as the blistering reading of "21st Century Schizoid Man" as well as an extended "The Sailor's Tale." Equally as impressive are King Crimson's pervading free-form avant-garde jazz leanings, which inform the exceedingly extemporaneous and rhythmically entrancing "Peoria," which also features some ad-libbed scat lyrical contributions from Burrell. The track "Groon" -- which Fripp once described as occupying the space between a groove and a groan -- may well be familiar to enthusiasts as the significantly more succinct B-side to the 45 rpm "Cat Food" (1970).
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer