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IQ - The Wake CD (album) cover

THE WAKE

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.78 | 504 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars A-wake and nervous

While an improvement over the sprawling debut album, Tales From The Lush Attic, and also more interesting than the next album, Nomzamo, The Wake is not quite the classic it is often claimed to be. Widow's Peak and the title track are indeed great songs that are eternal IQ classics with a permanent place in the band's live set until the present day. The rest of the songs do not have the same impact and the album tends to drag in some parts. It is indeed listenable, but only the title track and Widow's Peak really stand out for me. The rest is not particularly memorable, though Corners has a very nice sitar-driven ending. Is this Raga Rock?

Another problem is the subpar production which is not noticeably improved over the debut. The sound quality is not downright horrible by any means, but The Wake pales in comparison with other Neo-Prog classics from the same period such as the albums by Marillion. The weak production also makes this album sound a bit dated. Sonic quality is not everything, of course. If it has great tunes a bad sound and production may be forgiven, but as implied this album has only very few great tunes.

Lead vocalist Peter Nicholls would leave the band following this album but he returned for the recording of Ever in the early 90's. In my opinion, IQ wouldn't really find their own musical direction until his return, but the seed of what was to be indeed lies here. The feeling and mood of this album is darker than that of Ever and very much darker than the almost cheerful (in parts) Are You Sitting Comfortably? thus foreshadowing to some extent the dark and excellent Dark Matter from many years later. As far as I'm concerned though, the peak of the band's career ( which I would say came with Dark Matter) was still many years away at this stage.

The Wake undoubtedly constitutes an important part of the band's history as well as the history of the Neo-Prog genre and this is what makes it a worthwhile addition in the end, even if it fails to impress me much. The album's best moments are featured in better versions on various live albums together with other IQ classics similarly updated so this is not essential.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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