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IQ - Ever CD (album) cover

EVER

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.04 | 423 ratings

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars IQ is one band I've really shifted position on over the last couple of years. While I'd previously dismissed all post-Fish Marillion neo-prog bands on the basis of some unfortunate encounters with Galahad and Pendragon, I was gradually won over to IQ's cause by the sheer power of their 2004 release Dark Matter. That album now stands alongside Marillion's best in my estimation, and it has caused me to investigate IQ's past with renewed vigour.

Ever was my first stop, and despite being a decade older than Dark Matter it sounds almost like a sister album (lending weight perhaps to the accusation that IQ keep making the same album over and over again). The main strengths of IQ, in my opinion, are the vocal presence of Peter Nicholls and Martin Orford's keyboards, and they are very much to the forefront here. I'd have to say that overall though, this is clearly a weaker, less consistent album than Dark Matter.

Although there are some strong (albeit occasionally pop-inflected) songs in Leap Of Faith and Come Down, this album can be quite frustrating. The Darkest Hour is rather meandering and Out Of Nowhere is outright 80s pop-rock cliche. It's safe to say that the shorter songs generally don't match the standards of the average composition on Dark Matter and there are, in fact, times when my old prejudice against the "overly synthy synthesizers, tinny drums and bland lead guitar sounds" of neo-prog resurfaces.

Even when this album comes into its own, on the 14 minute centerpiece Further Away, the song drags on a bit. Still, it's surely one of IQ's best songs and gives notice of the kind of heights the band would later scale with Dark Matter. With an ethereal beginning (all swirly bells and light dancing synths) underpinned by (the oft-unnoticed) John Jowitt's delicate bass work, this piece is then led by Nicholls into much rockier territory. It threatens to get boring after a while, but an Offord synth special at the 7 minute mark threatens to turn the song on its head. Unfortunately the momentum is frittered away by the time the song concludes.

Still Ever is not too discouraging an album, and indeed might make quite a decent entry point for the newcomer ... as long as they bear in mind that the best was yet to come! ... 53% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |

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