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IQ - Tales From The Lush Attic CD (album) cover





3.84 | 454 ratings

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4 stars On this their debut album, IQ writes the blueprint for the sound they would carry on all their Nicholls fronted releases, gracefully melodic interplay between Holmes' guitar and Orford's keyboards, with Nicholls' emotional delivery of his obscure poetic lyrics. They begin with a minute a swirling wind sound effects before the mellotron and voice introduction of the epic "The Last Human Gateway" kicks into gear. The next 18 minutes are spent concluding this masterfully cohesive epic. Whether the narrator is alone in the world figuritively or literally is not revealed, an example of how Nicholls' lyrics are more expressive in their ambiguities. Almost anyone can relate to a time they felt absolutely alone on the world surrounded by action and life. This album sees his lyrics at perhaps their most topical, before he would latch onto an obsession with death and loss that would supply works like The Wake and Ever. The production of the album is much less extreme than that of their next album The Wake, with a smaller, dryer drum sound and a more snappy bass sound. The tightly wound rhythm section comes to good use on the next two tracks, the quick child molester's eye view of "Through the Corridors" and the synth laden fever dream of "Awake and Nervous." The bands sense of humor comes out in the title of the next track "My Baby Treats Me Right Cause I'm a Hard Loving Man All Night Long," which is simply an instrumental piano rearrangement of a theme from the next track. That track is their live showstopper, "The Enemy Smacks," a fifteen minute marathon of organ and guitar with Nicholls lyrics of heroin addiction. An addition to the reissue is the track "Just Changing Hands," with lyrics about domestic abuse. Its Hackett-esque guitar hook notwithstanding, it musically would not have fit on the album despite its undeniable quality. With Nicholls singing the words of the battered woman, the effect is pure fear and hopelessness, "he's coming home/to my bed." A great start to the career of one of this generation's most consistently great bands.
BobShort | 4/5 |


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