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IQ - The Wake CD (album) cover





3.78 | 536 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars IQ's "The Wake" is a Neo prog triumph in the earlier years of the group before I even knew they existed. After hearing some of their albums of recent years it was a necessary deed to return to IQ's back log. The album is akin to the music of Marillion, especially the vocals that sound very Fish like, and that is not a bad thing.

Some of the standout tracks include the majesty of 'The Wake' with a synth soaked melody driven composition, augmented by Peter Nicholls' excellent vocals and ambience. 'The Magic Roundabout' has a glorious intro with swathes of keyboards, by Martin Orford, and some very reflective vocals, with heartfelt phrases such as "I can't deny the honesty", and "if life is still worth living how come I feel alone." It sounds downbeat but it is a pleading vocal that reaches out for help, and I think many could relate to some of these thoughts. The guitars on this are superb, played by Mike Holmes, transfixing with twin layered effects. The time sig change that kicks in sends the song into an uptempo vibe, and a wonderful extended coda.

'Widow's Peak' begins with tranquil acoustics, and a steadily building atmosphere of synths and cymbal swells. The flute sound is beautiful, and it patiently leads to an outbreak of keys and drums. The vocals come in nicely with Nicholls' clear voice that I have become very accustomed to. The music sparkles with glittering synth and an odd rhythmic percussion by Paul Cook. The lead break is nicely executed as usual, and the song eventually moves to an interlude of instrumentation with layers of synths and ambient guitar textures. The sound beautifully resonates with atmospherics until the Floydian reverberated guitar, like 'Run Like Hell' to be more specific, and I like the way the synths plunge into chord shapes. The time sig shifts meter again and there is a strong beat that crashes through. A cello sound is heard for a time and then another verse before it ends; a veritable master class of prog.

'The Thousand Days' has a more commercial sound like a single from the album, but I like the melody very much and it has a bright vibe that is breezy and light. The twin harmonics on the lead guitar solo are a delight.

'Headlong' is very quiet, with vocals crying out and some keyboards to accompany. It builds with a bell tolling and tinkling chimes, providing a mystical quality. An outburst of drums and heavy guitar with synth layers eventually dominates. The keyboard solo is one of the best on the album. This one has a tension and release structure, with lighter moments embellished by heavier passages. The ending musical coda reminds me of Genesis in some aspects.

'Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir' has some mesmirising passages of synthesizer and a labyrinthine structure with time shifts and lengthy instrumentals. The mid-section with synths and howling wind before the strings chime in is a moment to savour. The lead guitar with sustained string bends is transfixing, followed by hammer ons and speed picking, certainly brilliant guitar playing here from Mike Holmes.

Overall this early IQ album is a sign of things to come. It has since been bettered by the likes of the brilliant "Frequency", but in 1985 this was pure prog of the highest quality. 3 and a half sparkling stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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