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

TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.84 | 453 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Tales from the Lush Attic' is IQ's first official recording, and in perspective, a real classic of 80s prog (or neo-prog, whatever). Yes, their enthusiasm and talent on writing and performing is not properly accompanied by a mature sound of their own, and the production feels almost improvised... yet the symptoms of IQ's musical grandeur are there: attractive and accomplished compositions, passionate interpretations in the vocal parts, great guitar and synth solos, powerful riffs, rich keyboard textures and orchestrations, a tight rhythm section that solidly manages the complex time signatures, and a certain air of post-punk fire that adequately refreshes the pompous demands of symph prog. The opening track, the suite 'The Last Human Gateway' follows in the same vein of pretentiousness and theatrical passion as most of its classic predecessors (Supper's Ready, The Gates of Delirium, In the Dead of Night), but I think that this recorded version fails to provide a more cohesive unity to sustain the linking of all sections comprised: definitely, a failure in production, but it may also be the result of a lack of complete artistic maturity (well, they were already so close to maturity, as 'The Wake' was soon to prove openly... but that's another story). But there are also some remarkable good points to this long piece: teh ethreal use of flute mellotron for the opening section, the floating guitar leads during the more melodic climaxes, the sinister instrumental interlude before the last sung section, and finally, the majestic reprise of the first motif by the lead guitar, which pretty much captures the spirit of Genesis' and Camel's vintage splendor. Anyway, I think that their other long compositions, since are not so extended, manage to make it easier for the band to keep control of things. 'Awake and Nervous' displays a fire whose incendiary effect never decreaces during its almost 8 minutes, and the closing gem, 'The Enemy Smacks', conveys the destructive rollercoaster of drug addiction with enthusiastic skill, impressive dexterity and touching dramatism. The latter is one of the most effective IQ compositions regarding their exploration in the darkest side of modern symphonic prog: this is, togetehr with the 'Human Gateway' suite, pure quintaessential first-era IQ. Between these two tracks, a piano solo reminds us of Rachmaninov's waves of sound, in order to give the listener a momentary break - you always need some of that before 'The Enemy Smacks'. While not giving it the perfect rating, I consider it a jewel in any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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