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





3.84 | 462 ratings

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5 stars The first time I heard 'Neo-Prog' was when I listened to 'Misplaced Childhood' by Marillion. Although I think it's a good album, it didn't has as much impact on me as albums like 'Relayer'. It was only when I heard IQ's 'Tales From The Lush Attic' that my faith in neo-prog was restored, and also when I started to take neo-prog seriously. This is because IQ's 'Tales...' is nothing short of a classic, and it's a stunning debut (if you don't count the cassette only 'Seven Stories Into Eight').

To start with, the album opener The Last Human Gateway is 20 minutes long. For an album released in 1983, this is extremely impressive, and shows that the band had enough musical integrity to write something truly progressive in a time when prog was quite a dirty word. The song itself is mindblowing. This is a multi-part suite with beautiful melodies, complex musicianship, emotive passages and amazing songwriting. To be honest, the only reason IQ are listed as being neo-prog is because they formed in the 1980s. This is actually symphonic prog all the way. There are plenty of odd time signatures to enjoy in this astonishing track. It's true that IQ roll out some progressive clichés, but this being the 1980s, it would be hard not to take some inspiration from older groups, and the way they use these 'clichés' is wonderful and cannot be criticised. One part of this extroadinary piece I'd like to refer to is at 17:28, when they slow down into a triumphant keyboard sound. Remind you of any other prog rock epic? "Yes" is the answer, as this was almost certainly inspired by the device used in The Gates Of Delirium at 12:35. One strange thing though, at the very beginning of this song, there is a quiet wooshing sound that continues for 75 seconds. This is yet another prog rock cliché, but it's a bit cheeky as it brings the song to exactly 20 minutes. Nevertheless, I love this track dearly and it should be ranked alongside Close To The Edge, Supper's Ready and the like. Just like Supper's Ready, this piece isn't a 'side-long'.

The brief song that filled up the rest of the side is known as Through The Corridors. The striking thing about this track is Mike Holmes's fiddly guitar work throughout the song! Very complex and speedy indeed. This track has a more punky feel to it, but it is keyboard driven in parts. A very fun track indeed.

The next song, Awake and Nervous has become something of an IQ staple in live shows, their Roundabout if you will. This is a very well written, emotive piece, but it was only when I saw videos of IQ playing this live that I realised just how much I enjoyed it. The instrumental may be a little short for my liking, but when the 7/8 riff returns at 5:50, it is a thing of sheer beauty.

My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long is an piano solo by Martin Orford that is over before you have time to say the title of this song (well not quite). It is just another progressive cliché, performing the same duty as Yes's The Clap or Genesis's Horizons. Very well played, but I've never been a fan of solo tracks on band records.

Despite it's silly name, The Enemy Smacks is an impressive song, boasting a lot of prog for your money. At nearly 14 minutes in length, this track features multiple parts, amazing progressive songwriting, and a striking 4:40 instrumental section. This instrumental section features a wonderful blend of prog and blues that feels wholly original. This is a staggeringly epic track and it's not to be taken lightly!

Many people see 'The Wake' as IQ's standout record, when I think this is entirely false. 'Tales From The Lush Attic' is a prog rock masterpiece and deserves far more respect than it recieves. This is a shining beacon of prog released in the progressive wasteland known as 'The 80s'. I personally find this record deeply inspiring.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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