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IQ - The Wake CD (album) cover





3.79 | 586 ratings

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5 stars IQ produced two stunning albums during the early part of the 1980's, with 1983's 'Tales From The Lush Attic' followed by this monster slice of neo-prog two years later. And, 30 years down the line, IQ have, despite a series of fine albums, yet to produce anything that can compare. 'Tales From The Lush Attic' was, according to vocalist Pete Nicholls, rush-recorded in the space of around four days, which is absolutely staggering considering the complex, Genesis-inspired music on show. 'The Wake', which was released in 1985, was the result of a slightly longer session, and found this five-piece in truly inspired form, creating an enduring neo-prog odyssey that stands head-and-shoulders above anything recorded by IQ's friendly genre rivals Marillion, Pendragon, Twelfth Night or Abel Ganz and, is still to this day, considered a milestone of 1980's progressive rock. The extra time in the recording studio obviously galvanised the group, and with the commercial success of Marillion's 'Childhood's End' album fresh in the mind, IQ obviousy decided to add a layer of pop sheen to proceedings, recording a couple of genuinely-catchy prog-pop singles that fill out the mid-section of 'The Wake' nicely. However, despite this nod towards the mainstream, IQ were still firmly rooted in the prog camp. 'The Wake' is filled with complex keyboard riffs, glistening guitar solo's and intricate sounds that bely the group's low-budget recording conditions. Every single song is a winner, with the band flitting impressively between epic song-suites and beautifully-judged ballads with expert aplomb and never, ever reverting to simple cliche or cloning; this is a band who have a sound very much of their own. The history books and pop charts will show that the kings of 1980's prog were, sale-wise, Marillion. However, despite their lack of genuine commercial success, IQ's first two albums are, simply put, two of the finest prog rock albums ever recorded. They have recorded many albums since, including the mammoth two-disc concept album 'Subterranea' and their excellent 2009 release 'Frequency', but none has come close to the mind-blowing creativity on offer here. In a word, superb. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 5/5 |


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