If "In the Wake Of Poseidon" was the carbon copy of "In the Court Of the Crimson King," then "Beat" is the identical twin of "Discipline." It carries most of the same elaborate musical and studio techniques, and the same amazingly complex structures. However, the songs on this 1982 release are often more easily accessible than those on "Discipline"; for instance a song like 'Heartbeat' is a much more easily approached than other great songs that appeared on "Discipline," like 'Thela Hun Ginjeet.' However, this is still King Crimson, so the accessibility is at a minimum. "Beat" is also the first Crimson album to possess a sound that actually reflects its era--here, much of the music has a distinctively 80s flare. With most albums, the ring of the 80s would be a drawback, but with "Beat" is somehow sounds perfect.
The lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford--arguably one of the band's best versions--soars as high as it did on their previous album together, and sometimes soars identically; the guitar of the opener 'Neal and Jack and Me' features a guitar noise that sounds almost exactly like 'Frame By Frame,' a past song. But elsewhere, "Beat" triumphs. Belew's vocals are as brilliantly loony as ever, especially on the never-dull 'Neurotica.' 'Waiting Man' meanwhile features a more subtle vocal, the heartache it induces matched only by Fripp's achieving guitar. This is also perfected on 'Heartbeat' and 'Two Hands,' the latter of which was lyricized by Margaret Belew in a less inspiring manner. The almost anthemic 'Requiem' closes the album suitably.
"Beat" is probably the closest the Crims ever came to actually sounding like something else that was being released at the time. And though it sounds much like an 80s album, "Beat" finds King Crimson throwing away any cliche associated with it and making it their own.