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IQ - The Wake CD (album) cover





3.80 | 551 ratings

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3 stars The Wake of IQ?

1985 was an important year for the development of the neo-progressive genre. IQ's "The Wake" was second to MARILLION's (overrated) album "Misplaced Childhood" in terms of notoriety, however I personally prefer PENDRAGON's debut "The Jewel". This third album is the last 80's IQ's record featuring singer Peter Nicholls, and therefore marks the end of the band's first period.

Musically, the style is roughly the same as on its predecessor "Tales From The Lush Attic". However, the band matured and begins to define their identity by digesting their initial Gabriel-GENESIS roots, even if they're still noticeable. The compositions on "The Wake" are shorter and rather keyboards-driven, but also more coherent and with better sound quality. All this creates a particular atmosphere mixing darkness, melancholic, hope and joy, that will later become IQ's trademark. Each song narrates a step of reincarnation, from death to the beginning of a new life. The best track is the catchy opener "Outer Limits". It contains a depressive synthesizer overture, powerful and melancholic moments and various soli. A classic from the band. Typical of neo-prog, the enjoyable title track alternates somber, oppressive and bright moments. Then comes "The Magic Roundabout" with its spacey introduction, heroic rocking and calm passages and great finale. This piece is however uneven as it can unfortunately get a bit soapy at times.

"Corners" is one the weak tracks of the record with its dated percussions and useless sitar, whereas the very nice "Widow's Peak" is the longest and most progressive composition. The first half shows strong early-GENESIS influences, but with eighties sonorities and spacey keyboards. The second half is rock-ier with its floating guitar la Steve Hillage. A magical fairytale song. In contrast, the joyful "The Thousand Days" is a cheesy 80's pop track. You can have a preview of IQ's material during the late 80's here... The soft melancholic "Headlong" also features changing atmospheres but the result is average this time.

The bonus track "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" is one of IQ's best 80's compositions. An enchanting and haunting piece, essential for IQ fans...

Less adventurous but more mature than "Tales From The Lush Attic", less rock and more synthesized than its predecessor, "The Wake" is also unequal but overall pleasant. The musicians offers ambiances from another world and therefore begins to become IQ, slowly emancipating from their 70's progressive roots. Don't miss this disc if you're an IQ or a neo-prog fan.

As in the album, the band will have to die to revive again. After the departure of Peter Nicholls, the members will recruit singer Paul Menel for the next two albums, much more commercial oriented. The fans will have to wait 8 years for another IQ studio opus with Nicholls, and also with this quality. However, this next reincarnation will result in one of their best records... ever...

Modrigue | 3/5 |


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