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IQ - Nomzamo CD (album) cover





2.86 | 336 ratings

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2 stars Some say it's a challenge to review a band perceived as an also ran in one's own humble opinion. I don't agree. Reviewing is easy and can be pleasurable, but it's listening that can be so arduous, especially since I believe in listening until I really "get" it. Some years back I chanced upon two IQ LPs for a reasonable price in a Montreal used record shop. Since I was aware of their status as neo prog pioneers, I scooped them up and skulked out of the shop convinced I had taken its keepers to the cleaners. Turns out I was the one fleeced.

More than half of this anonymous late 1980s recording sounds just like... well, that. It swells with musical and lyrical cliches absolutely numbing in their transparency, such that it must have sounded equally stilted in its day. For the most part, this is a pop recording along the lines of GENESIS of the period without the hooks and any sort of clarity. Its only advantage is that it generally omits the chest thumping drums which became trademarks for their idols - well, the dreadful "Screaming" notwithstanding. The low point is definitely "Passing Strangers" which, apparently without a trace of irony, counts no less than a half dozen of the most bathetic expressions from the pen of Paul Menel. Actually most of the tracks include at least a few lines that leave me writhing, and you must know I generally suffer this sort of thing quite well. Maybe one problem is that the music doesn't redeem matters. "Human Nature" could have been grand but was flattened by its own lofty goals gone leaden.

Only "Promises" seems to celebrate the pop idiom and how sophisticated instrumentation can highlight a melody rather than drench it, while "Common Ground" is a decent closing ballad with a measured guitar solo to round out the proceedings.

I realize this is probably not one of IQs stronger recordings. These were the 1980s, and the priorities of prog music makers and audiences were sometime at odds. Nonetheless, the near total lack of group identity and intelligence quotient do not speak well for the band. 1.5 stars barely rounded up.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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