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IQ - Tales From The Lush Attic CD (album) cover





3.83 | 456 ratings

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3 stars Back in the early eighties, of the so called neo prog movement IQ were one of the most promising bands to emerge and to this day remain one of the finest exponents of the genre. In fact I've always believed that Tales From The Lush Attic is a superior release to Marillion's Script, released the same year.

Like all the bands that arrived with the new wave of prog in the early eighties IQ took their cue from the prog legends of the seventies, in the case of IQ particularly Genesis, at least at this early stage. I seem to remember an early interview with the band at the time claiming that they were keen to bring modern and more commercial influences into prog (just look at Mike Holmes haircut to see where they were coming from!) to take it to a wider audience but in truth there's (thankfully in view of how much eighties music has aged) little of that. Vocalist Pete Nicholls, now a fine singer in his own right is clearly influenced by Peter Gabriel here but it's evident that he still had much to learn as his voice occasionally falters and struggles to hit notes. The band put on a decent performance though, Martin Orford in particular showing that he was already a more than competent keyboard player.

Musically IQ remain to my ears the most inventive neo prog band of the time, less predictable than the competition with some strong instrumental passages with Orford's vintage keyboards playing a prominent role. Awake And Nervous remains my favourite moment with its catchy and instantly memorable opening synth line. Mellotron lovers should be happy as Orford tends to take centre stage here on this lively piece. Not surprisingly though most attention will be drawn to the twenty minute long The Last Human Gateway which takes up most of side one on my original vinyl version. A flute like mellotron leads in a restrained start with Nicholl's best Gabriel impersonation as the track builds into a diverse piece shifting through many moods and changes from the powerful to the sublime with some inventive chord structures.

Not surprisingly IQ still had much to learn and would go on to release much better albums in the future, not least their most recent Frequency, which I believe to be their best yet. Nevertheless Tales From The Lush Attic still stands today and was a promising debut; the best of the bunch in fact at the time.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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