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IQ - The Wake CD (album) cover





3.79 | 533 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars An ironic title if there ever was one because ''Wake'' is exactly what I'm not feeling when listening to this album.

THE WAKE represents my first try with both IQ and neo-prog in general. The word that beautifully describes my response is ''underwhelmed'', as in I expected this album to be one of the greatest I've ever heard and it disappointed on so many levels.

One of the problems that I've just seemed to notice is the production. In general, it sounds too muffled; I can't really hear much of the bass guitar. It's too one-sided in favour of the keyboards in the aspect that the keyboards drown out much of the other instruments (barring vocals and cymbals) 6 times out of 10, or so it seems. On top of it, there are some keyboard sounds that just grate my ears like nails on a chalkboard. Martin Orford is very skilled and talented on the keys, and he's not given production credit, so none of my gripes are any of his fault; if anything, Orford is IQ's biggest asset on this album.

I have problems with the music itself as well. It sounds like overly typical symphonic prog; they piece together keyboard-led, odd timed themes together in a slightly connected manner to achieve a typical prog piece. I'd prefer something from the prog rock field that didn't sound so routine or typical; hearing the same prog album over and over again wears on my mind. Plus, I find too many boring spots where themes just show up and leave without impact. ''Corners'' is the worst example of my complaints as it is a six-minute- approaching-infinity type of song with the most soporific drumming (or drum machine, I can't tell which), cliche sitar parts and a stuffy tempo.

Only parts of songs could stick out. There's a spot on ''Widow's Peak'' right after the quiet bit in the middle that caught my attention, and the ''Chateau Noir'' bonus track has a nice start. That's really it as far as great memorable moments. THE WAKE is not an album that has any lasting impact with me. It almost tries too hard to fit into the prog rock genre, and most of the album sounds awkward because of it.

It'll test your prog fandom, but most will pass this test leaving me wearing the dunce cap in that proverbial corner, listen after unsuccessful listen.

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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