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IQ Tales from the Lush Attic album cover
3.81 | 568 ratings | 55 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Last Human Gateway (19:57)
2. Through the Corridors (2:35)
3. Awake and Nervous (7:45)
4. My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm a Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long (1:45)
5. The Enemy Smacks (13:49)

Total Time 45:51

Bonus track on GEP 1994 CD:
6. Just Changing Hands (5:12) / instrumental untitled hidden track (5:06)

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / vocals
- Mike Holmes / guitars (acoustic, electric & 12-string ?)
- Martin Orford / keyboards (Mellotron, synths ?)
- Tim Esau / bass
- Paul Cook / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Nicholls

LP The Major Record Company - MAJ 1001 (1983, UK)
LP The Classic One Shoe Record Label - MAJ 1001 (1984, UK)

CD Samurai Records - SAMR CD 1001 (1984, France)
CD MSI - CDMS 1018 (1988, France)
CD Giant Electric Pea - GEPCD 1010 (1994, Germany) Remaster by Peter Van T'Riet w/ bonus track
CD Inside Out Music ‎- SPV 1527A CD (2006, Germany)

NOTE: There is a remixed version issued in 2013 with bonus tracks plus a DVD with Live recording from 2011 and many extras - see under Compilations section of the discog

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IQ Tales from the Lush Attic ratings distribution

(568 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IQ Tales from the Lush Attic reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars The English band IQ were formed in 1981. By the end of 1982 they had already released their debut cassette album "Seven Stories Into Eight". They released their first vinyl album "Tales from A Lush Attic" independently in 1983; this is a re-mastered re-release of that album with one bonus track added. Notable are that this album is released the same year as MARILLION's debut album "Script For A Jester's Tear", so we're not talking any MARILLION wannabes here, although the two albums are very similar in style. They also reminds a lot of GENESIS. IQ are outstanding musicians, they have an excellent vocalist that sometimes reminds of Peter GABRIEL and their music is very powerful with strong melodies. The highlights are the opening 20-minute epic masterpiece "The Last Human Gateway" and the closing "The Enemy Smacks". This is a highly recommended album, especially if you're into GENESIS and neo-progressive rock.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 1983, the post 70's progressive rock bands was a rare reality belonging mainly to MARILLION and TWELFTH NIGHT. IQ started in 1983 with this album. Instantly, they got attention from serious prog fans, because of their modern continuity of GENESIS, through a very rebel rythmic rock sound!

Side 1 has an epic track named "The Last Human Gateway", lasting near 20 minutes. It is a very progressive track, reminding me PINK FLOYD's "Animals" and GENESIS of the GABRIEL- era, with some slightly punk beat and rebel guitar riffs. The next track, "Through the Corridors", unfortunately, is very short, but I really like its real GENESIS sound: very melodic and pleasant to listen.

Side 2 is VERY interesting: The first track, "Awake & Nervous", has excellent drums parts and moog melodies, and again, it definitely sounds like early GENESIS. The next track, "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long" is a dramatic & passionate piano solo, a bit like Eddie Jobson's "Prelude" on his Green album, but obviously less good than Jobson's outstanding solo. The most impressive track of the album is the next track, "The Enemy Smacks": WOW! They really get their trademark here! Everything is complex, incisive and progressive! It seems the track is better recorded than the other ones. The guitar is much more melodic, better sounding, and the miscellaneous keyboards are quite better arranged. The instruments on this track are also more fully interlocking, and the fast & changing drums never stop to impress! There is even a punk part, with an insane rythmic & rebel guitar sounding like on KING CRIMSON's "Sailor's Tale"!! Then, it continues with amazing and unforgettable electric guitar arrangements, often in the form of VERY melodic and passionate solos! Seriously, this track is one of their best ones: 13 minutes of INTENSE music!


Review by richardh
4 stars Excellent debut album only slightly marred by poor sound quality.Best part of the album is undoubtedly 'The Last Human Gateway' which sits comfortably alongside other twenty minuters like Close To The Edge and Supper's Ready.Their's plenty of instrumental dexterity on show with 'Through The Corridors' plus the wonderfully titled piano ditty 'My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long' .There aren't many better debut albums than this!
Review by 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.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I discovered this a few months after the release of their third album , and I was not all that impressed but still listened to it as I was plain glad it existed at all. And at the time IQ was already diving towards the atrocious mid-carreer albums in their quest to gain a more personal sound other than that of the cloning of Genesis . Unfortunately for them they will not succed , however courageous that decision was.

As for the music on this one , expect a rougher Wake album with all the mistakes a young prog band does on their debut but with a real sloppy sound too. Marillion's debut of the same year boast an incredibly good sound. I suppose they had more support from their record company.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you're new to Neo, not a bad place to start

IQ were the band that got the whole neo-prog "movement" into trouble; The most constant criticism levelled at neo-prog is that it can be perceived as a re-hash of "old school" prog - particularly Genesis. And nowhere is that more apparent than in this album, "Tales From the Lush Attic", as the majority of the textures, rhytmic features, song constructions, vocal style and even lyrics are almost pure Gabriel-era Genesis.

However, it would be very unfair to dismiss IQ (or any other neo-prog band) as mere Genesis clones, as IQ went on to greater things, and there is also much in "Tales..." that is experimental and original - even if it doesn't all work.

"The Last Human Gateway" begins with a simple, if uninspired flute motif combined nicely with guitar harmonics and gentle keyboard pads. Nicholls lyrics and vocal style are set firmly with Gabriel - which sets up my expectations for this piece to pan out along the lines of "Supper's Ready". There is none of the improvised feel of the latter, however - this first section is in almost pure basic song structure. At around 2:30, a very 1980's sounding keyboard provides a somewhat intrusive ostinato - but this does shatter the illusion of the Genesis expectations aroused earlier. The drums enter around 3:00, but this is not Collins, and the 16ths sound busy and somewhat hurried. At 4:15 there is a return to the Genesis sound - but more in the symphonic vein, with a big guitar sound and a short solo worthy of Hackett himself. There are changes a- plenty in this 20-minute epic, and covering them all would quickly get tedious; Highlights include lyrics like "I can't go any faster, stuck like alabaster, white, I know" and some incredibly inventive moments, such as the "floaty" section around 7:30 - which reminds me of the "Amanda" section of "Creepshow" by Twelfth Night. IQ then get into a gentle groove which mixes up the Genesis sounds with bits of Marillion - but you can distinctly feel them trying to break into their own style, which they almost manage aroud 12:30. I'm not struck at all by the wierd keyboard noises, and this section seems somewhat superfluous - the sense of any drive or drama gets a bit lost in the desire to go all the way to 20 minutes, and we get more of a sense of "this section, the next section" rather than a free-flowing piece. However, IQ work hard at maintaining some kind of structure, the curiosity is engaged, and anyone that likes constantly changing pieces of music will find much to enjoy in here, including some nice melodic work and blustery noodling from Holmes.

The lyrics to "Through the Corridors" are a little disturbing ,smacking slightly of paedophiliia... and as a piece, it's unremarkable, over-busy generally in the guitar and lame in the keyboards department - but it's clear nonetheless that IQ were desparately trying to establish an original sound, so full kudos to them for that.

"Awake and Nervous" could really have done with a better keyboard sound for the intro, but settles into a cool groove before moving into a slightly metal vein and back again until the obligatory choir sound around 1:15 heralds Nichols' familiar Gabriel strains. To give him his credit, the impersonation is very realistic, and his own melodic inventiveness very strong, and despite the fact that this sounds very much like a missing piece from "Selling England..." - or maybe because of that fact, this is a very strong track generally - although Cook is no Colllins. The heavier break around 4:45 gives a nice clue as to where IQ really wanted to take their own style, but move into a sound that is very close to Mann/Twelfth Night.

"My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long" wins the longest title for the shortest track award, and features Orford doing a party piece on the piano with quick ostinati in the right hand and very simple melodic figures in the left. This is one of those pieces that is generally more flash than content, although Orford does briefly show a slightly higher than intermediary approach to harmony in welcome places. More generally, not "Firth of Fifth", but enjoyable!

Another treat for fans of pieces longer than 10 minutes, "The Enemy Smacks" manages to escape the Genesis style on the whole, with a more personal lyric and vocal style. If only they could have escaped the cheesey 1980s keyboard sounds, this could have been a really great piece - ie among the greatest that prog has to offer, as it moves through time, key and harmony changes very smoothly and really shows the IQ style emerging. The main issue I would have is that early in the piece, where there should be a smooth groove, there tends to be a general feeling of lumpiness, and some of the changes are over-abrupt, which spoils some of the continuity. On the flip side of the same coin, where IQ make it work, especially later, it really works and the changes and textures - including those of the keyboards - are deeply satisfying and colour the lyrics well and show why IQ were one of the leading lights of neo-prog, and why neo-prog as a genre is not simply a rehash of what went before. This track really is an unpolished natural diamond - replete with flaws, and worth buying the album for alone.

Since I am reviewing the original vinyl LP, this review ends here, with a strong recommendation not just to fans of neo-prog but to prog fans in general - particularly those who think that neo-prog is somehow lesser or of lower quality than 1970s prog. This incredibly strong debut is proof that in fact, neo-prog is simply "old school" prog's little brother - not an inferior entity, but a younger one, which is still maturing.

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars I've been waiting for this CD (along with"The Wake") for 4 long months (under some circumstances). Maybe that's why I've been expecting too much from this record. The opening track is pretty good (in my epic-chart it could take the 5th position, after "Harvest of Souls" by IQ,"Supper's Ready" by you-know-who, "Grendel" by you-know-number2 and "A Change of Seasons" by Dream Theater) , I especially adore "A mother's son , a father's pride" part. Tracks 2 and 4 show the Great English Sense of HumoUr; highly recommended for those who have it. "Awake ..." has dissapointed me at first time as I was expecting much darker track, "Dark Matter"-like. Now I like it, it's OK. And the closing epic has classic, Neo-Prog, Classic Prog, a lullaby, Punk-Rock section and even Blues! The whole record is good, I do like it , but it is too uneven. I don't like bonus- track, really; also I'd like to add that quality of this record is very lo-fi-ish as it was recorded "far too quickly". Though it is great in its own way and recommended for Neo-Prog/IQ fans
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The debut from Neo-Prog giants IQ is somewhat of a lost treasure these days. Those fortunate enough to have it, though, are experiencing a masterpiece of progressive music. From the opening flutes of The Last Human Gateway to the closing of The Enemy Smacks, this album just doesn't lose its appeal and is a massive achievement. The group sounds almost exactly the same as they did in the 90's, but the group photo in the sleeve booklet will tell you that the band certainly didn't look the same as they did in the 90's (most notable is Mike Holmes hair). The guitar sounds are magnificently created and performed, the bass and drums are dynamic and keep rhythm perfectly during the trickier sections of the album. And finally, the keyboards are dynamic and wonderfully "lush", and Peter Nichols never sounded better.

The Last Human Gateway, which often is played in sections in the live format, is a epic that rarely gets mentioned these days, but it is masterfully played. From the opening flutes, to the 7/8 section that lasts from 3:30 to 5:00, even under tricky circumstances, the band pulls off a wonderfully majestic atmosphere. Through the Corridors reminds me of Liquid Tension Experiment's Paradigm Shift in that the guitar plays a similar line of ascending notes while keeping a drone note at machine gun pace. Awake and Nervous is a ballad of sorts and maintains a wonderfully majestic and often... dare I say it... nervous atmosphere. My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm a Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long is the opposite of what you'd expect. What you think will be a rollicking blues number is in fact a 1:45 grand piano solo from Martin Orford. The Enemy Smacks, another epic of about 15 minutes in length, goes through many different atmospheres and the vocals are outstanding.

Overall, if you like IQ, you need this album. It is essential to any Neo-Prog fan's collection and a masterpiece of progressive music. 5/5.

Review by maani
5 stars Okay, close your eyes, relax your mind, and travel back in time.

It is 1983. Disco is finally dead, after having joined punk rock in helping "kill off" prog (for the most part) in the mid-70s. With the possible exceptions of Pink Floyd (who were still riding the success of The Wall in 1981), King Crimson (already deep into its "second wind" with Beat), and Rush (who had just released the marvelous Signals), any "prog" bands still extent (Genesis, Yes, Tull et al) had "gone commercial" in order to stay "viable." The predominant trend in commercial rock was the "80s sound," with cheeky synthesizers, simple studio tricks and flanged voices added to often minimalist chord progressions and simple arrangements. The only interesting new music to speak of was being made by "new wave" bands like Talking Heads.

And then.something happened. The unexpected emergence of a new prog "zeitgeist" occurred as if by magic. The Church, until then a straight-ahead (if good) rock band with only occasional prog inflections, released Séance, a radical departure from their norm. (They would not release another truly proggish album for five years.) And two new bands - Marillion and IQ - both influenced largely by Genesis, released their debut albums, Script for a Jester's Tear and Tales From the Lush Attic, respectively. These two albums would go on to become among a precious few early masterpieces of what came to be called "neo-prog."

In reading the reviews of Tales, it seems that everyone has missed an important - indeed, critical - element of the album: notwithstanding the lack of some segues, Tales is a concept album from beginning to end. One need only read through the lyrics of the album, and listen carefully to the underlying musical themes, to see that there is a single continuous story being told. And although admittedly esoteric, that story has similarities to Genesis' "The Lamb."

Where The Lamb was (at least superficially) about two brothers, and the choice that one of them makes to save the other (even if it costs him his own life), Tales is (at least superficially) about a single person with two "sides," how and why those sides develop, and how the two sides fight each other for control. As well, the title of the first track (The Last Human Gateway, which is death) is an almost too-obvious reference to the similar "gateway" that Rael goes through (the "wall of death is lowered in Times Square"), and the title of the second track (Through the Corridors) is another almost too-obvious reference to the "corridors" referred to in "Carpet Crawlers." Given these and other similarities, while some reviewers made a connection between the 20- minute "Gateway" and epics such as Supper's Ready, I would make a far more radical statement: not content to simply "take on" Supper's Ready, Tales essentially "takes on" The Lamb - and succeeds beautifully on its own terms.

Although not nearly as lyrically or musically cohesive as The Lamb, Tales has all the right elements: esoteric lyrics; a mix of sweet balladic passages, heavily orchestrated progressive passages, and majestic, often exciting keyboard-dominated instrumental sections; unexpected dynamic changes; quickly shifting time signatures; interesting and well-used sound effects; and a no-holds-barred creativity that brings everything together in gestalt-like fashion - i.e., the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

As I have said before, in my opinion the success of any neo-prog band (and by that I mean any prog band that appeared after the nine or ten "seminal" bands, regardless of their subgenre) is determined by how well they channel their influences; i.e., whether they are simply "copying" (or, more annoyingly, ripping-off), or whether the result is something new, interesting and/or compelling. In IQ's case, despite the clear Genesis influence, Tales is not simply interesting, but completely compelling in its own right. And although Peter Nicholls' voice and approach are often unquestionably Gabriel-esque, you never get the sense that he is "imitating"; rather, he is simply applying the same sense of "dramatic flair" that Gabriel does - and he is good enough to carry it off without sounding foolish. (Indeed, over the years I have come to feel that Nicholls has one of the most beautifully expressive voices in prog.)

The album does have flaws. As noted, it is not as cohesive as it might have been. Indeed, there is a "joyful naivete" in its neophyte approach. And, as others have noted, it suffers a bit from inadequate production. [N.B. If this album had been as well-produced as Dark Matter, it would have been a monster, and possibly spoken about in the same breath with the classic concept masterpieces of prog.]

However, despite its few flaws - and despite the fact that it does not really measure up to such seminal classics as The Lamb, In The Court or Close to the Edge - I am giving it five stars - masterpiece status - for three reasons: its historic place in neo-prog; its unapologetic application of the "classic" approach to progressive composition; and the sheer creativity of its concept and execution. It thus joins Museo Rosenbach's "Zarathustra" and Spock's Beard's "The Light" as the only neo-prog debuts to which I have attributed masterpiece status.

For anyone truly interested in the history of prog, and particularly neo-prog, Tales is unquestionably a must-have album - besides being an absolute joy to listen to.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a very significant record, coming out the same year as "Script For A Jesters Tear" by MARILLION. Prog was not dead ! I really like Martin Orford's keyboard playing on this album and also the fact he uses mellotron on four of the five tracks (he didn't use it on the short instrumental). The star for me though is Peter Nicholls. I have liked his voice from the first time I heard it. This record sounds a little rough at times but as I said in the intro this is truly an important album. I also unlike most prefer it to "Script...".

The record begins with the almost 20 minute epic "The Last Human Gateway" which I feel is the best track on the album. It's very laid back to open and then we hear for the first time Peter's vocals.Suddenly everything is alright in the world. Synths come in followed by drums as the song gets fuller and more passionate. Great sound 5 1/2 minutes in. Orford is all over this. It settles 8 minutes in as mellotron flows. Beautiful acoustic guitar 9 1/2 minutes in, then vocals join in. It kicks in with synths a minute later. Electric guitar 11 1/2 minutes in as synths continue to swirl. The tempo continues to change. Some ripping guitar around 17 minutes. Love when the vocals return, so moving. Mellotron is back too. Yes everything is right in the world. "Through The Corridors" really hits the road running. This is a short guitar led tune. It's okay.

"Awake And Nervous" begins with pulsating synths as drums join in. Great sound. Mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes then vocals. Nice.This moves me. Great track ! Then we have the short, piano laden instrumental. Next up is the closer "The Enemy Smacks". This is a dark song about heroin addiction. This song has a bit of an edge, featuring some organ and guitar and of course keyboards aplenty. There is also a real nice extended guitar solo, and the vocals don't disappoint. I like the calm before 10 1/2 minutes with floating organ and spacey winds.The bonus track "Just Changing Hands" features Mike playing a surprisingly heavy guitar solo, and some more great guitar work later on as well. Martin shows that yes he can play the keyboards (haha).

I really feel that this record and "Script For A Jesters Tear" are must haves for their significance in Prog history. The three long songs on this album are incredible.

Review by evenless
3 stars Funny to know that IQ's "Tales." was released almost simultaneously with MARILLION's debut album "Script." There's not even a very big difference between a tale and a script I would say. :-)

Obviously both Marillion and IQ were influenced by GENESIS who had been a permanent factor on the British Prog-scene for some 15 years already at the time.

The opening track The Last Human Gateway definitely is the epic and highlight of this album, together with the last track The Enemy Smacks. All tracks in between are quite okay as well, but not as good as the ones mentioned before. I would recommend this album to anyone who already knows IQ and wants to compliment his/her cd collection. For any one who's new to IQ I would rather recommend Ever, Subterranea or Dark Matter , but also the excellent live DVD's "IQ20" & "Stage".

Over all 3.5 stars (rounded down this time, since I prefer Ever, Subterranea + Dark Matter

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This first IQ album is released in 1983. The same year as "The Script", the fantastic Marillion album. Even if lots of people (including myself) recognize strong influence of Genesis upon Marillion's work, I would say that is even more obvious with IQ. Their lead singer, Peter Nicholls sounds even more to the other Peter, you know the one from... He sounds as tortured as him and his vocal play sounds more natural, but less passionate, than Fish's one. IQ will have a pretty long career (still play together to date - 2007) with no so many line-up changes. This is great for the cohesion of course.

One must recognize that with the opening number "The Last Human Gateway" they are striking very hard. An almost twenty minutes long epic with poignant and vibrant moments (especially from Nicholls who at times sound absolutely wonderful), spacey and melodic ones, incredibely touching. There are no unnecessary solo, each member of the band working really as such. It lacks maybe the grandiose side of the legendary epics of the genre ("Supper's Ready", "CTTE", "Gates"...) but still, to deliver such piece of music on a debut album (even if some of them had already play together before in "The Lens") is a remarkable feat of skill. The finale is truely emotional. A great, great piece of music indeed.

To fill up side one, due to the limited amount of space available, we'll get a short rocking number. Good rhythm, good keys. "Through the Corridors" is a pleasant little tune.

We are back again in business with "Awake and Nervous". One definitely cannot get asleep with very good rock number. Very good melody again (but these guys know how to write catchy songs), it sounds almost heavy thanks to Martin Orford great keyboard play. This is another highlight of this very interesting album so far.

Another interlude with a very long title for a very short song. "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long". I guess that they must have a good sense of humour since this short part is an all intrumental keyboard piece. One would ahve hoped to listen to some saucy lyrics, but nothing as such. It will only bring us to the final number "The Enemy Smacks".

It is a long piece again (but they will write several long numbers). It is not as brilliant as "The Last Human Gateway", It has a comlex structure but doesn't work very well on me. Some instrumental parts are too repetitive and lacks in emotion. It sounds very heavy at times, only the final part has some bombastic sounds. One could have expected a more brilliant number to close this album, but then I would have rated as a masterpiece.

The remastered CD edition features a very good bonus track : "Just Changing Hands". The chorus is a marvel of a melody while it sounds almsot heavy again during some intrumental passages.

This album is extremely catchy. It perpetrated the music we all (?) love in a period during which Yes was producing "90125", Tull "Under Wraps" and Genesis had released "Abacab" two years before. IMO, this album is probably not the best IQ one because some numbers (two) are somewhat weaker but it is rather encouring. Four stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars How come I have not reviewed this album yet until today? This is especially when I claim myself as a fan of neo prog music? Despite the fact that I only knew this album after I enjoyed the band's second album "The Wake" which also represented my first introduction to the music of IQ. It's always so good to learn the band especially when it first started with the debut album. As I listened to this album after "The Wake" and in fact after "Nomzamo", spinning this album is really enjoyable. What we have here is the original line up of IQ before John Jowitt joined the band.

The opening track "The Last Human Gateway" (19:57) represents the band's exploration into symphonic prog music in its best. Even though the recording quality sounds raw but it still not bad in sonic quality especially with the excellent composition of each track featured here. One might find how the music changes its style and tempo from the opening part, middle of the track especially when guitar fills overlay the long sustain keyboard work. It's so nice. The band also demonstrates how good they are in creating catchy and memorable melodies through vocal line and musical chords and notes. Peter Nichols sings beautifully and his voice has become a trademark of IQ music. Martin combines his work as rhythm section and some keyboard solo which creates good textures of the music. Tim Essau provides tight bass lines during this track.

"Through The Corridors" (2:35) is almost a rocker with inventive keyboard work by Martin and powerful vocal line by Peter. Mike Holmes provides excellent guitar work to support the keyboard part. His style sounds like Steve Hackett, sometimes. "Awake And Nervous" (7:45) is the band's classic which then became live favorites. It has beautiful keyboard, nice music riffs and excellent vocal line. "My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long" (1:45) is a short bridge that contains a really nice piano solo work heavily influenced by classical music. Even though it's relatively a short track, I really enjoy it. "The Enemy Smacks" (13:49) is one of my favorite IQ songs. I like the energy, the dynamic composition and how the combination of guitar, keyboard and vocal provides good harmony. Observe the opening part and then enjoy the part when Peter first enters the vocal line. The music then moves beautifully in relatively fast tempo with great melody. It's kicking!

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. By the time of writing this review, I have enjoyed all studio albums by IQ and to me IQ is probably the only band who is still consistent in the style of music they are making and playing until today. You would not have any trouble assessing the music of IQ even from this excellent debut album. It will give you the whole picture of IQ music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by NJprogfan
3 stars I have to agree on almost every point of Salmacis's review. There is a knawing feeling of Genesis cloning on IQ's first album, but it's not a copycat. Nicholl does his best imitation of Gabriel on this album, especially on "The Last Human Gateway". The gripes I have with this album are Cook's drumming, which misses the pace of the band on some of the first track and on "The Enemy Smacks" and Peter's vocals are mixed somewhat muddily getting buried by most of the band, (I'm a BIG fan of his lyrics). Orford's keyboards are fine using Mellotron with good taste in spots, but of course better things are to come. The gothicness of the following album and beyond are hinted in spots, ("Awake and Nervous" for instance). And you'll hear the signature IQ sound around the 5 minute mark on the first track. This album smacks of first album syndrome, muddy production, out of sync drumming and wearing your influences on your sleeve, but by their next album, ("The Wake") it all jells. I still believe they're more classically progressive on their first album then any Marillion album, (but that's my opinion...) even with Fish, but I can only give this particular disc 3 stars, (4 if you're an IQ fanatic). BTW, if you get the InsideOut version, not only will you get a bonus track, there's a hidden track that's basically an instrumental ditty with an Asian/Indian flavor....kinda neat and unexpected to say the least.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the pioneers of the New Wave of British Progressive Rock,IQ were found by guitarist Mike Holmes in 1981.A year later they released a (hard to find nowadays) debut cassette entitled ''Seven stories into eight'' and in 1983 it was time for their debut LP ''Tales from the lush attic''.From the very first listen the love of the band for Gabriel-era GENESIS is more than obvious.The album is characterized by the lush keyboard sounds,the well-crafted guitar solos and the impressive,sensitive voice of vocalist Peter Nicholls.Not surprisingly IQ were and still are considered a major name progressive rock and their first effort prooves why.The long compositions,the intense atmosphere,the nice vocal lines and the extensive GENESIS-like instrumental passages complete a very attractive package that should please every progressive rock fan.Definitely a masterpiece of the 80's!
Review by stefro
4 stars The bands first album proper(by that I mean first album available on formats other than just tape)is, debatable as it may seem, in all probability the most consistent piece of work the neo-prog veterans have recorded so far.

Whilst 'The 7th House', 'Subterranea' and 'The Dark Matter' have all proven to be excellent additions to the IQ discography, listen to them carefully and you will hear faint echoes of this previous masterpiece seeping through the very pores of the music, so important was thIS initial masterwork in setting up the journey ahead that lay in-front of the band in terms of musical evolution.

'Tales From The Lush Attic' was, amazingly, recorded in just under 4 days during August 1983, making the albums inception, creation and distribution all the more impressive considering the fish-mania and general Marillion-loving that was sweeping the UK, EUROPE and the good old U S of A. It was produced independently, on a modest budget, with little-or-no record-company support and featured none of the excessive instrumentation so beloved of their mentors from the 1970's.

All the band had was drums, voices, keyboards, Guitars and Basses.

No funky tron, no studio wizardry.

Just the band.

And the what a great album it is.

Album closer 'The Enemy Smacks' is the undoubted highlight, featring cosmic keyboards and some extraordinarily imaginative guitar-playing, but to choose a favourite is difficult; there is barely a dud-note to be heard.

IQ have gone from strength-to-strength in recent years('Nomzano' excepted) and for anyone curious about the bands beginnings, 'Tales From The Lush Attic' is a great entry-point to a fascinating group.

I look forward to their next release knowing that, if it shows half the invention shown here, then we'll be in for a real treat.


Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tales from the Lush Attic is the debut studio album from UK progressive rock act IQ. I was introduced to IQ through their Seventh House ( 2000) album, which was their new album at the time when I purchased it, and I have since purchased almost anything the band has released. My initial interest in IQ stems from a recommendation I got that IQ was similar to Fish era Marillion which happens to be some of my favorite music. There are generally many similarities between IQ and Marillion but there are just as many differences. Tales from the Lush Attic is actually one of the last IQ albums I have purchased as it´s only recently that I knew of its existence.

The music is in the neo-progressive style which means that the keyboard sounds that are used instantly gives away the fact that this music was made in the eighties. Just as the case is with Marillion, IQ is very influenced by seventies Genesis but their overall sound is very different from Genesis sound because of the eighties sound and production. The mood on the album is predominantly melancholic. The music is dominated by keyboards but guitar, bass and drums also has place in the soundscape, especially the melodic guitars has to be mentioned as another dominant part of IQ´s sound. The vocals from Peter Nicholls are very distinct ( a cross between Peter Gabriel/ Fish) and gives IQ much of their identity ( he would leave for a period in the late eighties and IQ suffered greatly because of the loss. He proved to be impossible to replace).

The album starts with the 19:57 minute long The Last Human Gateway which is a great epic track with many different parts. Very Genesis inspired. The short guitar dominated Through The Corridors reminds me of Marillion. Awake And Nervous is my favorite here. Great emotional and powerful track. The strangely titled My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long is actually a classically inspired piano piece even though I thought it might be a rock´n´roll song with that title. Great little piece. The Enemy Smacks is a 13:49 minute long epic track and again I´m happy about the sound of this. Great song. The CD bonus track Just Changing Hands is good but not excellent IMO.

The musicianship is pretty good even though there are parts that seem a bit naive. I really like the energetic drumming ( with that thin eighties sound that reminds me of Script for A Jester´s Tear by Marillion). There are some great keyboard and guitar performances here too while Peter Nicholls is still young and not as commanding in his vocal performance as on later releases. His performance is still good though.

The production is really thin and with a sound like this it will always be an aquired taste if it suits your taste. I rather enjoy it. Think of how the sound quality is on Marillion´s Grendel track and you´re just about there.

I´m a bit surprised that I enjoy this album as much as I do, but sometimes lightning strikes and you don´t know why. For all its flaws I still think that Tales from the Lush Attic is an excellent debut and it deserves somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I´ll round it up this time and give it 4 stars as I really find it enjoyable.

Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars Whilst Neo-Prog may not be everyone's favourite Prog sub-genre, there are a few stand-out examples that appeared during the first half of the 80's that endeavoured to keep the Prog torch aflame - I.Q.'s 'Tales From The Lush Attic' being one such statement. First hitting the shelves early in 1983 on a private label by the name of 'The Major Record Company' , the album featured 5 tracks of expectant progressive technicality. The opening piece is an epic titled 'The Last Human Gateway' - it clocks in at just over 19 minutes (according to my stop- watch - no CD lover here....). The album offers a styling of music that many have grown to love - the highly imaginative ideals of a band whose name 'Genesis' meant more to their taste than mere 'top-forty trash' at this time in their lives. Moogs and Mellotrons aplenty, the guys in this band put their money where their mouth was when it comes to instrumental proficiency. All musical members of this band shine - fantastic Keyboards ( yeah, Tony Banks is a great influence....), Guitaring (yeah, Steve Hackett is a great influence), vocals (yeah, Peter Gabriel is a great influence). Drummer Paul Cook does recall Phil Collins or maybe even Rush's Neil Peart, and Bassist Tim Esau blends Mike Rutherford's melodicism with Chris Squire's ego. All-in-all, an amazing blend of talent. I struggle to find any weak moment here; odd-time sigs, natural changes of tempo, way too many highlights to mention - at least to my ears, this is a 5- star album. I have held it in high regard since I acquired it 15 years ago, and recently decided to give it another whirl. MAGNIFICENT !!! Open your mind and enjoy. 5 Stars.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Back in the early eighties, of the so called neo prog movement IQ were one of the most promising bands to emerge and to this day remain one of the finest exponents of the genre. In fact I've always believed that Tales From The Lush Attic is a superior release to Marillion's Script, released the same year.

Like all the bands that arrived with the new wave of prog in the early eighties IQ took their cue from the prog legends of the seventies, in the case of IQ particularly Genesis, at least at this early stage. I seem to remember an early interview with the band at the time claiming that they were keen to bring modern and more commercial influences into prog (just look at Mike Holmes haircut to see where they were coming from!) to take it to a wider audience but in truth there's (thankfully in view of how much eighties music has aged) little of that. Vocalist Pete Nicholls, now a fine singer in his own right is clearly influenced by Peter Gabriel here but it's evident that he still had much to learn as his voice occasionally falters and struggles to hit notes. The band put on a decent performance though, Martin Orford in particular showing that he was already a more than competent keyboard player.

Musically IQ remain to my ears the most inventive neo prog band of the time, less predictable than the competition with some strong instrumental passages with Orford's vintage keyboards playing a prominent role. Awake And Nervous remains my favourite moment with its catchy and instantly memorable opening synth line. Mellotron lovers should be happy as Orford tends to take centre stage here on this lively piece. Not surprisingly though most attention will be drawn to the twenty minute long The Last Human Gateway which takes up most of side one on my original vinyl version. A flute like mellotron leads in a restrained start with Nicholl's best Gabriel impersonation as the track builds into a diverse piece shifting through many moods and changes from the powerful to the sublime with some inventive chord structures.

Not surprisingly IQ still had much to learn and would go on to release much better albums in the future, not least their most recent Frequency, which I believe to be their best yet. Nevertheless Tales From The Lush Attic still stands today and was a promising debut; the best of the bunch in fact at the time.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars By 1983, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull had either sold out, lost considerable prog motivation or simply broken up. From any perspective, there wasn't much hope for symphonic prog. But then along comes IQ (and of course here is the obligatory Marillion mention, although I'm more aligned with the IQ camp) and we have a fairly decent epic and some clear symphonic flair. I was too caught up in whatever was being marketed at the time to notice. Perhaps if I'd spoken with my wallet, in addition to many other proggers, this album would have larger status today.

Or perhaps not, because while their heart was in the right place, this is far from a perfect, or even revolutionary album. But I have to give some historical credit for going against the grain--even if it had been done 10 years earlier, few were doing it then.

The Last Human Gateway is a very solid epic, probably in my top 100 epics, if that provides any perspective. In fact, if most of the song was as good as the first 8 minutes, we may have had one of the all time greats, because this segment features an inspired buildup, mostly in 7/4 time no less! There are a few sloppy moments, but they are quite tight during this sequence--impressive for a debut album! Unfortunately, we are then faced with a hit-and-miss march to the largely satisfying finale (along the way is an absolutely wince-inducing synth).

The Enemy Smacks is less a cohesive song as opposed to a collection of only sometimes interesting musical ideas. I do enjoy the 17/8 time guitar/bass unison playing near the beginning, but that's counterbalanced by some fairly poor vocals by Peter near the end. A fun song, but the band would tighten up their compositions considerably in the following decades.

I like this band, and by extension it's just fun to hear their roots. They made a definitive prog statement and largely held to that, with largely the same musicians, for nearly 30 years. Thanks for sticking with it, IQ!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The humble beginnings of IQ

Tales From The Lush Attic was IQ's first studio album release and it is an immature but partly promising affair. Two of the tracks are very long, namely the opening and closing tracks, The Last Human Gateway and The Enemy Smacks, the first of which runs for close to 20 minutes in classic Prog fashion. The shortest cut runs for less than two minutes but has the longest title: My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long! The best track, however, is Awake And Nervous, which is also the one that most clearly points toward the future of the band. The Genesis influence is very obvious throughout, and Peter Nicholls emulates Peter Gabriel quite well. On Awake And Nervous I feel, however, that IQ took the first trembling steps toward finding their own sound and style. And this song together with (parts of) The Last Human Gateway occur frequently in the band's live set until the present day and are rightly considered IQ classics.

While the epic The Last Human Gateway has some great parts, it comes across as overlong and lacking a clear direction. It seems that the band bit off more than they were able to chew here with a composition on such a grand scale. And the band themselves would evidently agree with me as on several more recent live airings of this piece they played only the middle and sometimes also end sections of it (see, for example, the live album Forever Live recorded on the tour in support of Ever in the early 90's and the live DVD Stage recorded and filmed on the tour in support of Dark Matter in 2005). As I said, there are indeed some great parts in there and it was therefore a very good idea to cut it up and perform only the better parts of it live (even though some fans would certainly disagree with me on this).

The album as a whole shares some aspects of The Last Human Gateway as it tends to drag in some parts. Most of the other songs are not particularly memorable and they do not have the same impact on me. Only the best parts stand out and these can, as I hinted at above, be found in better-sounding versions on several live albums together with other IQ classics. Another problem is the subpar production which makes this album pale in comparison with other Neo-Prog albums from the same period such as the albums by Marillion. The weak production also makes this album sound a bit dated. Sonic quality is not everything, of course. Having great tunes is the most important thing and if there are such a bad sound and production may be forgiven. But as implied, the quality of the compositions is not up for it. The next album would be a bit more focused, but as far as I'm concerned the peak of the band's career was still many years away at this stage. In my opinion, IQ wouldn't really find their own musical direction and identity until later on. What can be found here are only the seeds of what was to be. This can thus only be recommended for fans of the band and collectors of early British Neo-Prog.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars 1983 was indeed a difficult time for progressive rock fans. Most of the giants of the British scene were out of commission or at least in serious decline. The internet was still a dozen odd years off, and, through the negligence of commercial and non-commercial radio alike, few of us realized that progressive rock was quietly plodding on in non Anglophone countries. In fact, Germany, Italy, France and Japan, to name a few, had been producing better quality output than the UK or America for some time. Only under such circumstances could the "new wave" of English neo prog have made such an impact, and it did.

I never really caught the gist of this genre. From the first time I heard "Script for Jester's Tear" in its entirety on a local radio station obviously pitching to its boomer audience, all I heard was vocalists trying to sound like PETER GABRIEL and instrumentalists trying to sound like TONY BANKS, STEVE HACKETT and PHIL COLLINS. IQ's debut is cut from a slightly more ragged but equally influence-saturated cloth. I do hear other contemporaries like RUSH as well as typical 1980s rock. But what I don't hear nearly enough of is IQ.

Every time I listen, I feel that the tracks that sounded good the previous time sound mediocre now, and the ones that sounded dreadful before sound merely mediocre. This is partly due to the group's over ambitiousness on the lengthier cuts. "The Last Human Gateway" begins hopefully and includes some fine passages both upbeat and mellow, but also some dire segments, particularly one that sounds like the backing is being played by 1000 6 year old future violin virtuosos. What were they thinking? Lackluster melodies knock several of the pieces down a notch, like "through the Corridors", notwithstanding some impressive lead guitar/keyboard interplay. "Awake and Nervous" provides the most consistent effort and at its best borders on the majestic. Unfortunately, the rest is simply not up to even that modest standard.

After having sampled 3 distinct eras of IQ and come up shoulders shrugging and tale between the legs, I fear that this hackneyed debut is due for a lengthy, if not one way, trip to the garret.

Review by baz91
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.

Review by 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 ´Cos I'm A Hard Lovin´ 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.

Review by Warthur
4 stars IQ's first LP shows a more pronounced Genesis influence than their more diverse demo tape Seven Stories Into Eight, which preceded it, but what the band gave up in variety for this one they more than gained in songwriting prowess. In particular, on this album they mastered the art of evoking a strange, esoteric atmosphere which is unique to them. The main attractions are the two long songs, The Last Human Gateway and The Enemy Smacks, the songs between them being a slightly more light-hearted interlude. (My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long, in particular, is nothing more than the intro to The Enemy Smacks played on piano.) Not absolutely essential, but still really enjoyable early neo-prog.
Review by lazland
4 stars It is 1983. Prog is supposedly as dead as the proverbial doornail. And yet, there were all those stories in Sounds music paper about these new bands, who liked dressing up a bit, played "proper" music, with commercial sensibilities, and liked, gasp, Genesis. In fact, they apparently sounded a bit like them.

It was all a bit too much for us slightly nerdy types who continued to express our opinion that Floyd could play, and that New Romanticism was, basically, a pile of crap. It didn't get us laid very often, of course, but, hey, that's the price you pay!

So, a visit to the local record shop (when you had one in each town) in 1983 was a bit of a treat when presented with the debuts of the two neo giants, Marillion with Script....and this incredible work from IQ, still, in my opinion, the band who have stayed perhaps the closest to their musical roots over the years.

Founded by guitarist Mike Holmes, this collective could certainly play, and the opening track, The Last Human Gateway, was a stunning statement of intent, coming in at just short of twenty minutes, featuring the most delicate and angsty English vocals from Peter Nicholls since, well, a certain Mr Gabriel. Featuring flute, swirling keyboards, complex guitar and rhythm section, in places very much Yes driven, this was almost revelatory at the time, and, whilst it is fair to say that the production nowadays sounds rather weedy and light, it still stands up remarkably well as a piece of music.

It is, perhaps, unfair to single out any particular member of this collective, but this album was the start of a personal musical love affair with Martin Orford that lasts to this day, and I very much hope we have not heard the last of him as a performing artist on a full time basis, for his work here is simply stunning. And as for those who thought that prog rockers were just a bunch of po-faced nerds, his wonderful piano solo piece on the hilariously named My Baby Treats Me Right Cos I'm a Hard Loving Man All Night Long is moving and classically driven. I would love to know just how the title came about!

Some of it, of course, now sounds pretty dated, particularly the "by numbers" Awake and Nervous, but I still get a great deal of pleasure in listening to the vinyl copy closer, The Enemy Smacks, with its delicate guitar work, delicious time signatures, dark organs, very introspective lyrics, vocals which still have me at times checking to see whether Hamill guested, and, well, confirmation to us at this exciting time that the prog "revival" was not to be a short lived experience.

We have debated neo prog quite a lot recently on this site, and it prompted me to get this out and revisit my late teens and jot down a few thoughts.

This is an important album in prog rock history. Whilst outsold by its better known peer Script, a situation which would continue and widen of course, this album spawned a fanatical fan base which has stayed loyal ever since, and I am happy to count myself amongst that number.

Four stars. An excellent and critical addition to any prog collection, falling just short of masterpiece. They saved those for later. In fact, they are still producing them.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Formed by Mike Holmes and Martin Orford all the way back in 1981, IQ were amongst the first bands in the 80s to resurrect the styles of Genesis and Yes and progressive rock in general along with other early neo-prog pioneers Marillion, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, Pallas and others. Although this debut album by IQ starts out sounding like a mere Genesis clone with Gabriel era vocals and keyboard runs, it really picks up after few minutes and takes the listener on most unexpected journeys.

Genesis were masters of creating a new sound and then suddenly jettisoning it in favor of a new one. In the wake of their musical disposals first encountered on "Trespass" countless bands hungrily devoured the carcasses of their former sounds and incorporated them into their musical beings. After Gabriel left, the band changed their sound to a more neo-prog sound and eventually to a symphonic pop sound abandoning all the prog they so ambitiously created in the first place. Bands like IQ boldly resurrected these progressive traits first heard in the 70s and added a little zing to the whole mix.

TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC expands the Genesis inspired universe into farther reaches of that musical universe. Technically the second album after the cassette-only "Seven Stories Into Eight" it was nonetheless the first major release. Although Peter Nicholls echoes the Gabriel era of Genesis, at times he actually sounds like a bit like Rikk Emmett of Triumph at times showing a more diverse range in the octave department.

This album is a surprise actually. Coming to this late in the game after hearing the 21st century releases first, i have to say that i really love this debut. It shows great maturity in the composition department and the musicianship is on an excellent level matching that of any technical level of other 80s genres such as metal, jazz or classical. Martin Orford is particularly brilliant on the keyboards on this one and i even hear a little Philip Glass wizardry influence here and there. The rest of the band is nothing less than phenomenal in their ability to maintain a tight and steady progressive time signature frenzy as well.

A very promising start to a long lasting career with this one and even though there were a few speed bumps on the way, IQ has remained a steady and incrementally waxing force in the progressive rock arena for three decades at this point (2014). I find the music on this one brilliant but it is the blatant Gabriel vocal impersonation here that keeps me from rating this higher. It's just tooooo Peter most of the time. The best parts are the instrumental ones but even with vocals as they are and all i still really dig this scene.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the midst of the 1980's, when the prog giants turned to pop and AOR, IQ stood true to the genre's fundamentals as one of the most talented, competent and creative of neo-prog groups. Although they'd soon go the commercial route, too, with the more new wave and pop-influenced releases that they're churning out even to this day, this debut LP "Tales From The Lush Attic" found the band filling their symphonic shoes and running a marathon. The album spans 5 tracks, ranging from short interludes to grandiose epics and each song is crafted wonderfully and with care and emotion, even the "filler" tracks.

Now, just who is IQ? Well, Genesis, frankly. Or so the accusations are made: "hero worshippers", "plagiarists", "copycats", all of which are titles that this debut has earned IQ. It really is impossible to deny the obvious Genesis influence that defines this album. However, I don't see it as a weakness at all. In fact, the blatant Genesis cloning is what makes this album truly great. Where Genesis was rich in inspiration, they were pretty down lousy at making flawless albums. For all of their greatest highs, they had equally magnitudinal lows. Whether it was the unnecessary and unfunny attempts at comedy like "Harold the Barrel" or "Epping Forest", soulless and mechanical material like "Watcher of the Skies", or putting awkward verses into what would have been a perfect instrumental (*cough* Firth of Fifth *cough*), Genesis just had a real knack for watering down their best output.

But "Tales From The Lush Attic"? This album is all killer, no filler, baby. Each track is a substantial, developed, well-paced, and well-placed musical experience. As well, frontman Peter Nicholls, while sounding very similar to Peter Gabriel, has much less rasp to his voice, leading to a more refined, less abrasive listening experience, all while retaining the same emotional wealth. The best part, though? IQ has far more instrumental firepower than Genesis ever did. No flaccid Tony Banks tinkling to be heard here, and no dated-sounding Hackett guitar tones. Instead we have the boisterous and confident-sounding attack of four top notch players who have no trouble getting a little untamed when the music calls for it. The only thing that I think might make this album even better would be if they included more acoustic sections, as that was the one thing that classic Genesis did nail consistently. That really is just a minor complaint, though, because this is high calibre symphonic prog through and through.

So why don't I give this release 5 stars? Simply because IQ found a way to make it even better. The definitive version of this album that you should seek out is the Giant Electric Pea 30th Anniversary re-release. The production is fantastic and it includes several bonus tracks such as the shorter ballad "Wintertell", the dramatic and well-orchestrated "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" and "Just Changing Hands", a jam-like instrumental that shows off the band's soloing capabilities.

So there you have it. This isn't just Genesis revisited, this is Genesis improved. Truly an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars Tales From The Genesis Attic

As one of the first neo-progressive album, with MARILLION's "Script for a Jester's Tear", "Tales From The Genesis Attic" is in fact IQ's second album, after the cassette-only "Seven Stories into Eight". Greatly influenced by symphonic early GENESIS, the music lacks a bit of creativity and identity. Furthermore, Peter Nicholls' voices is strongly similar to Peter Gabriel's. Still nowadays, IQ remains the "classic" neo-prog band the most resembling GENESIS.

Recorded in only in five days, the composition is also not always mastered. However, the music manages to bring a few scattered new 80's elements and the result is overall pleasant.

The 20 minutes "The Last Human Gateway" is one of the longest progressive suite from the beginning of the 80's. It contains different ambiances typical of symphonic rock, mixed with eighties' sonorities: hard rocking epic passages, haunting atmospheres, calm spacey interludes, as well as average and cheesy moments. The synthesizer solos are not always convincing, the result is uneven and sometimes sounds unbalanced. However, this song is overall varied and nice. After all, at this time, progressive music was not very popular, and not many tracks were this adventurous. The short "Through The Corridors" is a punchy pleasant hard prog piece.

"Awake And Nervous" is also enjoyable, with some rocking passages, while "My Baby Treats Me Right" is a small pretty piano interlude. Nonetheless, the best track of side 2 and of the record is "The Enemy Smacks". More coherent than the opener, this song possesses his own charm, even if the mellotron, guitar and Nicholls' singing clearly exposes the band's GENESIS' and PINK FLOYD's roots. It features a catchy opening, nervous moments and melancholic atmospheres different from the seventies' classic prog material.

The bonus track "Just Changing Hands" is optional.

Although a bit immature, not always mastered and marked by the influences of Peter Gabriel and co., "Tales From The Lush Attic" is nevertheless a promising album. As MARILLION, IQ incorporates the urgency and sharpness of the 80's decade in their compositions, but more discreetly. The musical identity still needs refining. Anyway, this second opus was welcomed in the desert progressive landscape of 1983.

A good entry point to discover IQ and the neo-progressive (sub)genre. Also recommended to early-GENESIS fans.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album release from these Neo Prog stalwarts, their signature sound and style are still forming, the band still groping for evenness and consistency. Still, there are some very nice songs here--definitely nothing "poor" or too disappointing--and even an epic ("The Enemy Smacks") reaching the heights necessary to crack the halls of Prog Valhalla (it may be even better than some of the soggy epics they've released in the 21st Century!).

1. "The Last Human Gateway" (19:57) (31/40) 2. "Through The Corridors" (2:35) a faster paced song driven by some serious ALEX LIFESON/STEVE HACKETT-like guitar. (4.5/5) 3. "Awake And Nervous" (7:45) opens sounding like an organ and Arp Christmas ditty before the band joins in with some intricately woven drum, bass and guitar work. It threatens to sink into an ABACAB abyss before switching directions into a bit of a blatant Gabriel-era GENESIS imitation. Nice drumming. Peter Nicholls as a Peter Gabriel imitator? Who knew? (12.75/15) 4. "My Baby Treats Me Right ´Cos I´m A Hard Lovin´ Man All Night Long" (1:45) electric piano solo by Martin Orford. Kind of classical. Trying to go super fast. (4/5) 5. "The Enemy Smacks" (13:49) a solid multi-movement epic more bombastic but perhaps more infused with YES than the Marillion stuff coming out near the same time. Martin Orford was really good! (27.5/30)

B-/3.5 stars; a solid album and nice welcome to Prog World for this long steadfast contributor of high quality Neo Prog; rated up for freshness and sophisitication.

Review by The Crow
3 stars After their debut in cassette demo with Seven Stories into Eight, IQ released their first official LP named Tales From the Lush Attic!

And they made history with this release because along with Script for a Jester's Tear, it is considered one of the first true neo-prog albums. But unlike the Marillion's debut, the sound of this self-produced album is not so great, especially in terms of vocals. In this album Peter Nichols does not sings in the refined, sharp and elegant style of more recent albums. Let's be honest, he sounds like a lousy iteration of Peter Gabriel.

That's a pity, because the quality of the album is otherwise excellent. The epic The Last Human Gateway is awesome and should be rewarded as one of the best neo-prog songs of the 80's. The rest of the record is a bit more irregular, especially the shorter tracks and this fact along with the aforementioned weak production is the reason that this album does not achieve a higher rating.

Best Tracks: The Last Human Gateway, Awake and Nervous and The Enemy Smacks.

Conclusion: despite the bad production, Tales From the Lush Attic is an obligated record to understand the birth of the neo-prog sub-genre.

My rating: ***

Review by friso
3 stars I'm quite the modern IQ fan, but after finally finding the vinyl of their debut I wasn't that impressed. Along with Marillion's first, 'Tales From The Lush Attic' by IQ represents the birth of the neo-progressive movement. During most of the record one can almost imagine all band members thinking about how to recreate the vibe of Genesis' 'The Lamb Dies Down on Broadway'. Singer Peter Nicholls hasn't really found his own voice here, but does a nice enough tribute to Peter Gabriel. The Genesis hommage doesn't bother me much, the production of the record is the main problem here. I'm sad to say the band itself is at least partly to blame here; all the tempo's on this album are dead wrong; too fast and distorted by over-excited or rushed playing. The production sound doesn't help either. Probably due a lack of imagination of the producer chose an almost working-man post-punk type of dry sound, which gives this otherwise imaginative music a very odd 'pub' feel.

Putting all these critiques aside, this albums isn't loved for no reason. Right from the opening keyboard theme from 'The Last Human Gateway' you can hear the love for the progressive genre. When Nicholls enters with his theatrical performance this moment can still be relived as a sort of reunion of seventies sentiments. This twenty minute suite unapologetically fires all that was good about symphonic prog; waves of synths, time-signatures, epic guitar leads and of course that conclusive finale in which everything comes together. On side two 'The Enemy Smacks' reaches equal peaks. The short 'Through The Corridors' has guitar solo's serving as riffs and suffers terribly for it. To bad, because without it side one would have been better.

Whether you'll really appreciate this album will depend on you having forgiving ears (or not) when it comes to the production. Its historical importance can't be denied - as does the love put into writing it. The artwork is quite good! Only the limited first run has the blue frame and you're more likely to find a red one. The band has also released a remix/remaster which sounds a lot better than my vinyl. I myself will however remain a frequent listener of their more recent output.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pouring through the back catalogue of IQ during isolation is very therapeutic, the music is so uplifting and passionate. This debut is all killer, no filler and for a debut its absolutely outstanding on every lever. Peter Nicholls voice is dynamic and the musicianship is masterful. Tales from the lush Attic is a Neo classic, released the same year as Marillions best album Script for a Jesters Tear, can you see how ironic that is. The IQ albums to follow in the 80s were nowhere near this complex and accomplished.

Both Marillion and IQ demonstrate strong influences of Genesis and at times Nicholls channels Gabriels inimitable style it can be said. However IQ stand alone as definitive prog masters, one listen to the 20 minute epic The Last Human Gateway will be evidence. What an incredible magnum opus and still being played in recent concerts in its entirety. It even has a 7/8 time signature in one section circa Apocalypse style, and bookends with lush keyboards and fragmented drums in its odd time signature.

The other tracks are an odd assortment including a piano solo and heavy guitars in the glorious Awake and Nervous. The last track The Enemy Smacks is a masterpiece with a wild, abandonment of guitars, keys and time sigs.

So unexpectantly I find myself giving the very first IQ release 4 stars. They are simply one of the greatest prog bands out there, make no mistake.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars At a time when the predominance of trends such as new wave and more digestible pop were giving the progressive movement more than sour moments and even two of its most important representatives, Genesis (resolutely turning to new sounds) and Yes (looking for a formula for subsistence) were moving away from the recognisable canons, proud squires of the genre emerged to inject a breath of vitality and renewed vigour into it. One of them was IQ. With almost no budget and taking advantage of an offer from Major Record Company to record and produce 1,000 LPs in five days for 1,500 pounds at the time, the Englishmen released "Tales from the Lush Attic", their debut album, in the second half of 1983.

The huge suite "The Last Human Gateway" kicks off the album with a theme related to the recurring human quest for immortality and the tragic contradiction of not being able to bring closure to the cycle of life, with a prolonged and suspenseful introduction dominated by the keyboards of Martin Orford and the sublime singing of Peter Nicholls until the irruption of the clean and persistent sounds of the moog, to then go back and forth through moments of calm and agitation that towards the end intensify with the participation of the riffs and guitar solos of Mike Holmes and the active drums of Paul Cook, closing the piece epically. One of the album's best.

And both the agitated and disturbing "Through the Corridors" and the instrumental "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm a Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long" with Orford's rushing classical piano solo, both brief interludes interspersed, precede the Genesian (Gabriel era) "Awake and Nervous" and the multiform "The Enemy Smacks", a suite that without reaching the mileage of "The Last Human Gateway", describes the deterioration of a heroin addict in three phases with an instrumentation that adds to the identifiable progressive elements, bluesy touches, hardened hard rock riffs and lysergic atmospheres reminiscent of the 70's, with a solid base built by Tim Esau's bass and Cook's intensity on drums until the conclusive ending with the full band.

"Tales from the Lush Attic" is a very good album and an unbeatable start for IQ, a precursor band of neo-prog that, with few exceptions, has been consistent throughout their career, respecting their original roots.

4 stars

Latest members reviews

2 stars At that time they were, as many neo prog bands, trying to imitate Genesis prog style with modern influences. Here, Nicholls tries to sound like Gabriel, but not very accurately. The band itself doesn't sound really good, due to the poor mix but also because of weird songs and arrangements like the l ... (read more)

Report this review (#2955048) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Thursday, September 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I.Q. are a band I never got into in my younger prog days but one I have grown to appreciate greatly in my later years exploring new areas of prog. They are easily the most consistently great progressive rock band probably ever, even if that consistency doesn't always mean masterpieces. I'm going ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580602) | Posted by The Ace Face | Wednesday, July 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm generally not a big fan of neo-prog subgenre. I just like Marillion's Fish era and a little bit of Pendragon's work. I became more interested in IQ's music because I saw many 5-rated reviews for their last album, but after a few plays of Resistance, I could not give it more than 3 stars. So I de ... (read more)

Report this review (#2270304) | Posted by emisan | Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Excellent beginning for this band approaching now 40 years of existence. To their credit, please remember it's the 80's and prog music was effectively in an all-time low, yet they resisted producing it as only few bands dared to at the time. On this, as on future albums, they excel particularly ... (read more)

Report this review (#1566630) | Posted by Quinino | Tuesday, May 17, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Beautiful way to start a band. Beatiful way of express yourself in a world where Disco and Punk has ravaged the musical world and got bands like Genesis and Yes running for cover. This is the band that, with the help of Marillion, put the word "progressive" again in the tongues of many, many ... (read more)

Report this review (#1322867) | Posted by steelyhead | Thursday, December 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I love IQ, especially after seeing the 'Stage' DVD concerts, which clearly show a well-oiled machine going through its motions. The debut IQ release, 'Tales from the Lush Attic', was released during a period when I thought PROG music was no more and I only much later, around 1995, listened to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1091895) | Posted by Ozymandias | Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I absolutely loved Marillion's "Script for a Jesters Tear" when it was released as I still do today. I absolutely loved all of Genesis Gabriel era. Why then did I not discover this album and IQ back then when this was released? No clue relating to the answer to that question however I know today ... (read more)

Report this review (#1024213) | Posted by sukmytoe | Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Although Iq are consider one of the greater bands of neoprog, i don't consider much this album. Here there is a totally absence of melody!!! and i can't imagine it's neoprog. Iq should stay totally in symphonic prog, because they aren't so melodic or accessible like the other neoprogressive bands ... (read more)

Report this review (#905482) | Posted by Aragon | Sunday, February 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars (9/10) IQ burst onto the newly formed Neo-Prog scene in 1983, the same year that saw compatriots Marillion rise to fame. Whilst their debut album "Tales From The Lush Attic" didn't come quite as fully formed, didn't sell nearly as well, and wasn't as instantly iconic, there is a lot to enjoy, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#850305) | Posted by ScorchedFirth | Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is better than "Script for a Jester Tear" from Marillion, is better than "The Jewel" from Pendragon, is better (by short) than "Live at the Target" from Twelfth Night and is better than "The Sentinel" from Pallas, just because Tales from the lush Attick is the only one from the five first ... (read more)

Report this review (#437048) | Posted by Rikki Nadir | Thursday, April 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On this their debut album, IQ writes the blueprint for the sound they would carry on all their Nicholls fronted releases, gracefully melodic interplay between Holmes' guitar and Orford's keyboards, with Nicholls' emotional delivery of his obscure poetic lyrics. They begin with a minute a swirling ... (read more)

Report this review (#120904) | Posted by BobShort | Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While I like this album, there is no denying two obvious things: 1. They are wearing their influences (Genesis in particular, Yes to a lesser extent, and even 80's new wave) very prominently on their sleeve. 2. The production is atrocious. 2 can be explained by the fact they only had 4 days ... (read more)

Report this review (#95969) | Posted by | Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I really think this is a must-have. In 1983, after recording some demos, and a cassette named "seven stories into eight", finally IQ recorded the first official album: "Tales from the lush attic". Several people claim, even today, they are a copy of Genesis. I think not. But I do think they took ... (read more)

Report this review (#70504) | Posted by | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tales From The Lush Attic was IQ's first album, but it sounds fresher and more invigorating than anything Genesis were coming out with at the time. The key comparison would be to Trespass through end of Gabriel era Genesis musically with very poetic and strange lyrics set against a backdrop of ... (read more)

Report this review (#43743) | Posted by | Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars IQ as Genesis clone? So what? If you like Genesis (pre-pop transformation) you love this kind of music, so if a band with very talented musicians, with fantastic melodies, with poetic lyrics, plays a similar music, they are most welcome! Incredible to believe this is their first real album! ... (read more)

Report this review (#39900) | Posted by luc4fun | Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was an Album I bought as it came out - And I liked from the very first listening ! It was an echo (in the early eighties) of a musical age that passed away about seven years previously. Long tracks - An undeniable EPIC and a thorough redevelopment of ideas that were created in the mid 70's ... (read more)

Report this review (#37455) | Posted by Swinton MCR | Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It's hard for me to give this CD just 3 stars due because I really did like it alot. I'd give it 3.5 if allowed but not quite 4 because of a couple of flaws.The first handicap is the production quality. This album could have sounded alot better with better engineering. Of particular interest o ... (read more)

Report this review (#3602) | Posted by Trafficdogg | Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Actually this one should have 4,5 stars as being so close to a real classic not to be missed by anyone. I dared not to grade it that high for it is only their official debut and so much more great great albums were there to emerge from this bunch of nice lads residing in the New Forest and sur ... (read more)

Report this review (#3601) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An absolute milestone in the progressive music. This is not neither NEO PROG nor a GENESIS clone. It is simply a group of five young men -led by the tandem Holmes & Orford- which in an only three days recording, carry out their musical ideas to perform what much people consider the quintessence of p ... (read more)

Report this review (#3590) | Posted by | Friday, January 30, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It smells like Genesis.Very inspired,less mature as "The Wake" and a little bit obscure,maybe it s their closest approach to classical prog rock.It was very refreshening back in those years to see that old magical music did not die. ... (read more)

Report this review (#3585) | Posted by | Thursday, November 13, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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