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IQ - The Road of Bones CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1324 ratings

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5 stars Although its street date is May 5th, pre-orders of the sumptuous collector's edition of IQ's latest album have begun shipping already in order to get the sets to purchasers in time for the album launch show (tickets to which are included in the collector's edition), so I have been lucky enough to hear this latest release already.

The Road of Bones is the second album in a row from IQ to feature a lineup reconfiguration, following the incredible streak from Ever to Dark Matter where the band lineup had remained extremely solid and stable. In fact, the lineup shake from Frequency to this is the largest between any two consecutive IQ albums, with three of the five band members not appearing on Frequency. Paul Cook and Tim Esau are, of course, old hands in IQ, being the group's original rhythm section (indeed, Frequency was the only IQ album not to feature Cookie on drums), whilst Sphere3 keyboardist Neil Durant makes his first appearance on an IQ album here.

The obvious question, then, is how this shakeup affects the band's sound. Frequency was a refreshing update to the IQ sound; would the return of Paul Cook and Tim Esau reverse that musical progression, or would Neil Durant's inclusion allow the group to continue it? As it transpires, Durant is the surprise star player here, proving equally adept at a bang-up-to-date keyboard style and performances living up to the heritage of IQ's earlier material. (Constellations, one of several tracks on the bonus disc in the special edition of the album, showcases this distinction particularly nicely.)

Tonally, the album finds IQ in a melancholic and reflective mood - one which often serves them well, as it did on albums such as The Wake or Ever - whilst the special edition of the album provides a bonus disc with a brace of songs which to my ears are just as strong as the compositions that made the cut, but which didn't fit the particular vibe they are going for here, and as a result the special edition presents a more diverse sound. Whether you plump for the 1CD or 2CD editions, right here you have IQ incredibly managing to continue their streak of top- quality albums which began with the classic Ever and still shows no signs of slowing down.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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