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IQ - Ever CD (album) cover





4.05 | 710 ratings

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5 stars The period between Are You Sitting Comfortably? and the creation of Ever was a time of crises and tragedy for IQ. As well as Tim Esau and Paul Menel taking their leave of the band, the remaining group members were rocked by a series of deaths of people close to them - including Les "Ledge" Marshall, the long-time friend of the band and bassist who momentarily replaced Tim, and former Twelfth Night frontman Geoff Mann, whose untimely demise was a shock to all the members of the extended neo-prog family who emerged from London's Marquee club in the early 1980s.

John Jowitt stepped into the breach to take on bass, whilst Peter Nicholls was so moved by the events that had occurred that he readily agreed to return to the vacant vocalist spot. All five performers were determined to save the band in honour of Ledge's memory, and as the new album took form the commercial musical direction taken with the two Paul Menel albums was comprehensively abandoned. It's quite fitting, in fact, that Ever seems to pick up IQ's more complex neo-prog style right where The Wake left off - because whilst The Wake was a concept album about death from the point of view of someone who has died, Ever tackles very similar subject matter from the point of view of those who are left behind.

This evolution from narrative fantasy about the afterlife to contemplative musing about bereavement shows a maturing in the band's lyrical focus, and it's accompanied by a maturing in their sound. It isn't as gloomy an album as it might have been by any stretch of the imagination - it has its sad and subdued moments, as the subject matter demands, but there's also peace, tranquility, joy, excitement, and a sniff of nostalgia; in other words, all the best emotions you might feel when recalling happy times that cannot be reclaimed (due to death, distance, or any other reason) but which seem as vivid as though they were yesterday. It's one of the most incredible comeback albums I've ever heard.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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