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IQ - Frequency CD (album) cover

FREQUENCY

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.10 | 893 ratings

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huge
4 stars So here we have, at last, the latest offering from IQ, introducing their new keyboardist - Mark Westworth, though as I stated on the Frequency Tour review how much of the input is Mark Westworth or the legacy of Martin Orford we'll probably never know. Anyway they were able to recruit and continue.

Frequency is a very well crafted and organised album clocking in at an hour with some excellent tracks (and some not quite so excellent), why they didn't include the track 'Already Gone' on the album is anyone's guess.

Frequency - this track gets right under your skin, starting with the almost hypnotic bass riff, what follows is typical IQ, offset time signatures that simply flow, with memorable melody. This is easily the strongest track on the album, and will become deserved and essential staple diet for the live set.

Life Support - here we have a more soulful and mature Pete Nicholls, however this soon gives way to an extended 'jam' session with presumably Marks input (it sure don't sound like Martin.) This track seems to break the mould of previous IQ material. Perhaps this is to be the new direction?

Stronger Than Friction - a return to the more established IQ sound, no surprises, but oddly reassuring. A longer track, clocking in at 10 minutes, though despite its length it does flow naturally, (during the recent tour this was played live under the title of Crashed And Burned), the end of this track neatly segues into:

One Fatal Mistake - here we have a more acoustic based ballad with restrained and simplified instrumentation. The tour CD version provided an excellent extended Genesis-esque alternate ending that is completely omitted here, instead keyboard atmospherics (with keyboard vocals also reminiscent of Genesis) are used to introduce, and segue to the next track:

Ryker Skies - arguably the most interesting and intriguing track on the album, it takes IQ in a new direction, after a prolonged introduction, we are introduced to some quite heavy overtones that suit the track well, coupled with excellent slow, chromatic and deliberate vocals over a rocking background. It would appear that Westworth has flexed his muscles and demonstrated his influence on this track.

The Province - like Life Support, this begins with subdued and soulful vocals, I must admit I was looking forward to this aspect being developed, but an alternate and bombastic chromatic passage with wailing guitar and fast drumming is favoured. After a brief pause the second part hits the listener head on, however before the calm ending we are given some soaring guitars over lush keyboards. The tour CD has an alternate studio outtake of The Province, it struck me that the last 4 minutes of this material (not used on this album) could have been incorporated to great effect.

Closer - for IQ this is really a non starter, it is arguably the weakest track on the album, after a decent start that hints at something, it never really reaches those expectations, the only interest occurs after three and half minutes, where, for a brief two and half minutes the stops are pulled out, however this is all too brief, we return to gentle ramblings with the track being stretched to a rather long repetitive 8 minutes. Oh that 'Already Gone' was in its place.

Though I was eagerly anticipating this release, having soaked in the tour CD, my expectations were high; I have subsequently been listening repeatedly to this album trying get to grips with it, but I still have mixed feelings, as I remarked earlier there are some excellent tracks, but not all. A score of somewhere between 3 and 4 stars I think would be a fair result, so in the interests of the majority of the album I'll round this up to a very commendable 4 stars.

huge | 4/5 |

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