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IQ - Frequency CD (album) cover





4.10 | 951 ratings

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4 stars Early 2018 IQ have announced that they will do their annual Christmas Bash gig in The Netherlands on December 15th, that is something to look forward to. Because after all those many years IQ is still 'alive and neo-progging', since the release of their debut album entitled Tales From The Lush Attic from 1983. And during the years IQ have delivered so many quality albums, this album from 2009 entitled Frequency is my favourite one of the last two decades.

The album opens with the titeltrack, first sounds effects and then we can enjoy IQ in its full splendour: slow rhythms with a bombastic atmosphere featuring fiery and howling electric guitar runs and moving violin- and choir Mellotron eruptions, by Mark Westworth who has replaced founding member Martin Orford in 2007. For me this is IQ their trademark, very compelling and exciting. And what a tension and dynamics, and what a very promising first composition.

In the other six tracks IQ also finds a perfect balance: between dreamy atmospheres, propulsive mid-tempo rhythms and bombastic outbursts, embellished with great work on guitar and keyboards (with frequent mid- Genesis undertones). From wonderful guitar play with the volume pedal, majestic choir-Mellotron and sensational synthesizer flights in Life Support to a strong vocal performance and a spectacular break in the varied Stronger Than Friction. How wonderful and alternating is the short, dreamy One Fatal Mistake: acoustic rhythm guitar, soaring strings and warm vocals, concluded with Tony Banks sounding choir-Mellotron drops. We can enjoy a mouth-watering vintage keyboard sound (Hammond, Mellotron, Minimoog) and propulsive bass play in Ryker Skies and strong vocals with tasteful guitar ' and keyboard colouring in the beautiful ballad Closer.

But my absolute highlight is the magnum opus The Province, a constant 'neo-symphonic eargasm' of almost 14 minutes. The keyboard work is outstanding and varied: lush Hammond, impressive choir- Mellotron layers and flashy Minimoog runs (halfway a hypnotizing solo that reminds me of Tony Banks in Supper's Ready from Genesis). There is a compelling tension between the flowing shifting moods, from wonderful twanging 12-string acoustic guitar to sumptuous eruptions. We can enjoy an exciting part featuring propulsive guitar riffs and drums (by newcomer Andy Edwards) with powerful Hammond and a moving electric guitar solo with violin- Mellotron waves. And a warm conclusion with intense vocals and tender piano.

It's incredible how IQ have matured since Martin Orford and Mike Holmes founded the band in 1981: it has become an experienced unit, John Jowitt's powerful and creative bass work is omnipresent, Peter Nicholls sings as never before and new keyboardist Mark Westworth shines. What an outstanding and very exciting album, it comes close to my 'all time favourite IQ album' The Wake (from 1985), highly recommended!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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