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

TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.84 | 454 ratings

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Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars In the midst of the 1980's, when the prog giants turned to pop and AOR, IQ stood true to the genre's fundamentals as one of the most talented, competent and creative of neo-prog groups. Although they'd soon go the commercial route, too, with the more new wave and pop-influenced releases that they're churning out even to this day, this debut LP "Tales From The Lush Attic" found the band filling their symphonic shoes and running a marathon. The album spans 5 tracks, ranging from short interludes to grandiose epics and each song is crafted wonderfully and with care and emotion, even the "filler" tracks.

Now, just who is IQ? Well, Genesis, frankly. Or so the accusations are made: "hero worshippers", "plagiarists", "copycats", all of which are titles that this debut has earned IQ. It really is impossible to deny the obvious Genesis influence that defines this album. However, I don't see it as a weakness at all. In fact, the blatant Genesis cloning is what makes this album truly great. Where Genesis was rich in inspiration, they were pretty down lousy at making flawless albums. For all of their greatest highs, they had equally magnitudinal lows. Whether it was the unnecessary and unfunny attempts at comedy like "Harold the Barrel" or "Epping Forest", soulless and mechanical material like "Watcher of the Skies", or putting awkward verses into what would have been a perfect instrumental (*cough* Firth of Fifth *cough*), Genesis just had a real knack for watering down their best output.

But "Tales From The Lush Attic"? This album is all killer, no filler, baby. Each track is a substantial, developed, well-paced, and well-placed musical experience. As well, frontman Peter Nicholls, while sounding very similar to Peter Gabriel, has much less rasp to his voice, leading to a more refined, less abrasive listening experience, all while retaining the same emotional wealth. The best part, though? IQ has far more instrumental firepower than Genesis ever did. No flaccid Tony Banks tinkling to be heard here, and no dated-sounding Hackett guitar tones. Instead we have the boisterous and confident-sounding attack of four top notch players who have no trouble getting a little untamed when the music calls for it. The only thing that I think might make this album even better would be if they included more acoustic sections, as that was the one thing that classic Genesis did nail consistently. That really is just a minor complaint, though, because this is high calibre symphonic prog through and through.

So why don't I give this release 5 stars? Simply because IQ found a way to make it even better. The definitive version of this album that you should seek out is the Giant Electric Pea 30th Anniversary re-release. The production is fantastic and it includes several bonus tracks such as the shorter ballad "Wintertell", the dramatic and well-orchestrated "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" and "Just Changing Hands", a jam-like instrumental that shows off the band's soloing capabilities.

So there you have it. This isn't just Genesis revisited, this is Genesis improved. Truly an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Magnum Vaeltaja | 4/5 |

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