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IQ - Ever CD (album) cover





4.05 | 679 ratings

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3 stars Featuring the return of original lead-singer Pete Nicholls, 'Ever' was IQ's fifth album and a most welcome return to their neo-prog roots after the ill-judged major-label pop-rock of 1987's 'Nomzamo' and it's 1989 follow-up 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?'. Neither album had been particularly well received and, following the decision of the band's label Phonogram to drop the group, Nicholls replacement Paul Menel and original bassist Tim Esau both quit in search of musical pastures new, temporarily slimming IQ down to a three-piece before Nicholls decision to re-join in 1992. Former It Bites bassist John Jowitt would eventually complete the newly re-branded line-up, and after signing up with the newly established independent label Giant Electric Pea the band entered Manchester's Parkland studio's to record what was in effect a follow-up to their seminal 1985 release 'The Wake', the band eschewing the slick commercialism of the previous two albums produced under the IQ banner in favour of reviving their original, Genesis-inspired, un-ashamedly prog-rock style that had garnered the band a large-and-loyal cult following at the beginning of the 1980's. Following-up 'The Wake' was always going to be a stiff challenge but 'Ever' showed that IQ were, happily, still the formidable and highly inventive band of yesterday, the intervening eight-year gap doing nothing to diminish the group's complex musical ideologies. Song such as the multi-layered opener 'The Darkest Hour' and it's epic, two-art follow-up 'Fading Senses' reveal a band on top-notch form, adding steelier guitars and up-tempo beats to their established keyboard-heavy formula. However, whilst 'Ever' did prove to be a triumphant return-to-form for IQ, it can also be see as possibly their most imporant album to date, both re-invogorating a band who, to many, seem finished, and providing an important stepping-stone onto the next level of their career, enabling the group to develop their sound and therefore produce albums such as the 100-minute-plus, 1998 double- album 'Subterranea', the darkly-hued 2005 release 'Dark Matter' and their highly-praised latest effort 'Frequency', stretching IQ's burgeoning career upto the thirty-year mark. Musically, 'Ever' doesn't quite hit the same peaks as it's prog-styled predecessors, with the latter-half of the album displaying a slightly soft, pop-inspired lilt, but there can be no underestimating the importance of the album's timing. 1993 was a time when grunge bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden ruled the musical roost, and the band's such as IQ were at the very margins, strugling to gain a foothold in the music industry. 'Ever' allowed IQ the time and space to carefully plan their career and as a result they have given us a plethora of excellent albums and become one of modern prog's top acts. 'Ever' is by no means their greatest achievement, but it''s one of their most important. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 3/5 |


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