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IQ - Living Proof CD (album) cover

LIVING PROOF

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.02 | 85 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars Sometimes being pompous and strong is not enough.

I haven't heard "The Wake" more than twice, so I will dare to give my opinion of the tracks of "Living Proof" based exclusively on the live version without comparing them with the original studio release.

Been trying IQ for years, but still my opinion hasn't changed, I find them extremely derivative and lack of originality, I can listen the three Genesis eras and Marillion, all mixed in one, I had the hope that they would sound different on stage but haven't found almost nothing that defines an original sound in this album.

The opener "Awake and Nervous" starts strong and gives hopes, but there are two facts that I can't stand, the voice of Peter Nicholls who tries to sound as Gabriel but only gets to sound as a hybrid between Gabriel and Fish with a touch of Barrett, who looses the key very frequently.

The other problem is in the keyboards, Martin Orford gives us 7 minutes of variations on one chord. For God's sake, I know there are a few notes, but you can make infinite combinations!

Strong and vibrant during the first two minutes, but after that is more of the same, yes, it can move a crowd because of the powerful drums and loud keys, but doesn't resist a careful analysis because there's absolutely nothing original.

In "Outer Limits" the keyboards are more interesting, the interplay between Orford and Holmes is interesting and they add a good doze of emotion, despite Nicholls vocals, the song is very good and you can find at last some originality.

"It All Stops Here" reminds me a lot of UK (Night After Night) with a touch of Marillion, but again the problem is the originality or more precisely the lack of it, even when they have good changes and dramatic sections it's not enough..BTW: Am I crazy or Orford tries to sound like Jon Lord in some sections?

"Just Changing Hands" makes me wonder if Paul Cook has more than one beat, yes he's fast and strong but his drumming is almost standard for all tracks and moods, despite this fact, the track is strong and keeps the interest of the listener, not outstanding but good enough.

"The Wake" is a strong song, again the only low point is in the vocals, this time Nicholls sounds as a Metal wannabe trying to keep with Mike Holmes who does an extraordinaire work with the guitar, the rest of the band is impeccable, specially Tim Esau who adds the touch of originality to the rhythm section because Cook sounds almost exactly in every song.

"This Magic Roundabout" has an excellent organ intro by Orford, at last he doesn't tries to sound as anybody else and proves he's a very capable keyboardist, but again the standard sound of the band returns, nothing new, sounds well causes the desired effect in the fan and casual listener but lacks of depth IMHO, but at least I find some radical changes, something unusual in them.

"Widow's peak" starts with a dramatic guitar solo and a soft keyboards work in the back, very nice and different, and then the explosion that reminds me a lot of Pendragon, mostly because the keys style is very similar to Nolan's, the Mellotron or most likely a Novatron, is used with very high skills creating a strong atmosphere, very good song with different moods and at last very original despite the clear Genesis reminiscences.

"The Thousand Days" has the same problem of the opener, the variations on the keyboards are too subtle, sounds a bit monotonous, doesn't matter all the times I listen them, I can't get Nicholls vocals.

"Corners" should had been left aside, in this track they comprise the three Genesis eras, sounds like a blend of "Selling England By the Pound" with "A Ttrick of The Tail" with a machine drum (Yes I know they are not using machine drums but Cook tries very hard to sound as using one) taken from some late three men era album, simply too derivative and watered for my taste,

Hard album to rate, I'm sure the concert must has been great because they are loud, pompous and strong, but lacks of depth, this are the kind of albums that give neo Prog bands the undeserved fame of sounding all the same, the sad thing is that they are capable and skilled band who just need to define their own unique sound.

This is an average album, not great, not bad, so the fair rating would be 2.5 stars, sadly we don't have the chance to give this rating so will have to go with two stars, being that 3 in my opinion is for an album that's above the average and this is not the case of "Living Proof".

Ivan_Melgar_M | 2/5 |

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