Crimson's second album is cast very much in the same mold as its predecessor, but it expands upon the ground broken by the debut. The contrast between soft, lyrical ballads and frenetic sonic barrages is even more pronounced, the dynamics shifts even more extreme. As on IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, there are extended cuts comprising several discrete sections. An important development is Fripp's increased (and increasingly sophisticated) use of the mellotron as its own instrument rather than an orchestra substitute, as seen on the album's several ominous instrumental pieces.
"Pictures of a City" seems meant to pick up where "20th Century Schizoid Man" left off, with it's furious ensemble passages, knotty Fripp guitar leads and Greg Lake's authoritative vocal. "Cadence and Cascade" helps fill out the ballad quotient with a beautiful, wispy vocal from transitional singer Gordon Haskell. A valuable note of humor is interjected into the proceedings via the jokey, off-handedly jazzy "Cat Food." Keith Tippet's piano and Mel Collins' sax--both soon to play larger roles--were introduced on POSEIDON as well.
Record Collector (magazine) (p.83) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Greg Lake takes the reins on the eight-minute brassy-jazz of `Pictures Of A City,' showcasing Fripp's Yes-esque guitar cacophony."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.93) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "With Robert Fripp approving the masters, the album has been cut to perfection....Of course, it's the music that matters, and the album sounds wonderful."