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IQ - Frequency CD (album) cover





4.10 | 843 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Nothing quite like a new IQ album to get this progger out of hibernation.

I have always appreciated IQ's restraint in not flooding the market with tons of material that is just not very good. I have never treasured any IQ album as an outstanding whole piece, but I can always count on finding at least a half hour or so of music that I find interesting and of high quality, and Frequency fits right in.

Overall, IQ sounds "fuller" to me on this album, with more fills by Edwards and plenty of layering of keys by Westworth. Both members have done fine in their new IQ roles by contributing to the IQ sound but still moving the band toward a more modern sound. Of course, Holmes and Jowitt are rock solid on guitars. Also, Nicholls continues to improve, as his contributions never detract (unlike some older IQ albums) and oftentimes really bring the powerful sections over the top.

Highlights: Frequency, Stronger than Friction, The Province of the King. All of these tracks feature classic IQ traits that I always look forward to such as subtle time changes, structures that really maintain momentum, and great counterbalance between the guitar/keyboard section and the bass/percussion section. The title track is a fantastic start to the album--it's quite heavy, but it also has the classic IQ restraint in introducing new melodies at just the right time. Stronger than Friction just may IQ's Cinema Show (of course on a much smaller impact scale!), starting with a catchy and bouncy tune and finishing with a rousing 7/8 flourish (and excellent transition to the slower One Fatal Mistake).

The Province of the King might be the track where IQ experiments a bit more in song structure. For example, a haunting guitar/vocal start kicks into high gear and then moves right back to mellow. My experience with IQ is that they don't tease--when they build things up, they almost always maintain the momentum. No matter though, because the second half features a classic menacing organ/synth section, some truly fantastic vocals by Nicholls, and of course the well-earned majestic guitar solo by Holmes.

IQ doesn't change by leaps and bounds, but this album is hardly recognizable when compared to their first, Tales from the Lush Attic. I have really enjoyed following this band's career and evolving sound, and I think they are quite good at their craft at this point. Harvest of Souls was a final send-off for the "classic" line-up, and Frequency represents a new step in a somewhat new, yet satisfying, direction. Here's to one more piece of high quality prog!

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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