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

TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.84 | 454 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The Genesis of IQ?

To start from the beginning of the IQ story, we have to go back 30 years to the early 1980's. While seldom credited as the inventors of neo-prog, the band were certainly among the pioneers of the genre, They took their influences, as others around the same time, from the work of Genesis in the 1970's, thus carrying the banner for a style of music which Genesis themselves would famously move away from. While IQ did release material prior to this on a cottage industry basis, "Tales from the lush attic" is generally accepted as being their first proper album.

The album opens in the true traditions of prog with a wildly ambitious 20 minute track entitled "The Last Human Gateway". In many ways, this wonderful epic sets the template not just for subsequent IQ songs, but for large scale productions by many of their peers. Yes we are immediately struck by the passing similarities between the voice of Peter Nicholls and that of Peter Gabriel, yes we notice the Tony Banks like synth chorales of Martin Orford, and of course the guitars of Mike Holmes have echoes of the great sounds of Steve Hackett, BUT I challenge anyone to actually come up with a Genesis song which sounds remotely like this. This is not a patchwork of unconnected songs ("Supper's ready") an extended instrumental interlude ("Cinema show") or a verbose fantasy story ("Battle of Epping Forest"); it is a singular piece which actually has most in keeping with Marillion's "Grendel" from a similar period (OK, and maybe a bit of "The knife"!).

Perhaps, in the true traditions of Genesis, we have a couple of tracks here which may be said to be included simply to lighten the overall feel. So it is with "Through The Corridors", a frantic race through a pleasantly inoffensive ditty and " My Baby Treats Me Right īCos I'm A Hard Lovinī Man All Night Long", a convoluted title for a "Lick my love pump" like piano recital.

Were it not for these two brief tracks, we would perhaps be more likely to compare this album with the likes of "Close to the edge" and "Relayer", as we are effectively left with an album which in its original format had one side long track, and one side with two extended pieces. "Awake And Nervous" is for me the weakest of the long numbers. It has many of the right tenets, including an upbeat pace, guitar and synth breaks, and a decent vocal melody, but for me it is rather disjointed.

At almost 14 minutes, "The Enemy Smacks" can claim to be the album's second main feature. Here we have a fine extended instrumental section to enjoy, the track complementing the epic on side one perfectly.

The remastered CD has one additional track called "Just Changing Hands". While it is hardly worth chasing that release for, the track is very much in keeping with the music on the original album.

In all, a fine first album from a band who would go on to record many more. An essential listen for those who are already familiar with IQ's later offerings.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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