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IQ - Resistance CD (album) cover





4.17 | 365 ratings

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3 stars I bow to no one in my admiration of this fine band, and the prospect, following a long wait, of a new album was mouth watering, especially given the fact that, to these ears, the predecessor album, Road of Bones, remains one of the best in my collection.

By God, though, I have struggled with this. Of course, those of us who have listened to prog for many years, and have the privilege of writing down our thoughts, will be familiar with many exceptional works which on the first few listens sound average or even dreadful, but, with growing familiarity turn out to be that belter of a classic five star work.

I know that this is going against the grain somewhat, but I do not think that Resistance is one of those albums, and, sorry, I think this is the weakest IQ album since Peter Nicholls returned gloriously to the fold.

To the ears of Lazland, the fault lies with the first cd. Very little of it progresses seamlessly. It is almost tuneless in parts. I dislike opener A Missile intently, with the overly layered keyboard effects hammering the theme somewhat relentlessly. Rise reminds me in parts of tracks from Frequency, but, unlike that fine work when the band worked together, this sounds very much like some post- production vocals stuck on top of a hotch potch of sounds, and guilty of the abiding sin of this whole work, which is far too much production, by which I mean the lack of emotion and emotive music, which to me are the hallmarks of this band.

The quieter pieces on Road of Bones dripped with menace and emotion, whereas Stay Down is merely rambling. I like the opening pipe on Alampandria, but could have done without the synth backdrops, again rather over-produced. The song then segues into a by-numbers IQ riff.

Shallow Bay is a somewhat typical late period IQ track, and is very good, and the first time on the album that the band make me sit up and take notice of proceedings, especially with the marvellous rhythm section of Esau and Cook work throughout, and a trademark Cook guitar solo.

Much of If Anything could have been transposed onto a late period Genesis album. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I like late Genesis. But the quieter moments on Seventh House, Dark Matter, Frequency, and Road of Bones were welcome and emotive parts of a whole body of work. It must be me, but I simply don't get how this fits into whatever narrative is being told here, and, once again, the sound effects towards the end strike me as simply being a noise. The church organ could have been marvellous, but feels way out of place.

None of this, however, comes anywhere near the awfulness of the closer on cd 1, For Another Lifetime. I hate this bloody track, and I really have tried to feel otherwise. The circus theme is damned annoying. The sound effects which come with it are shocking, and (I never thought I would say this about one of my beloved acts) it is soporific. Nicholls' vocals are soporific. The keyboards are, yes, soporific. I like experimentation. It is a critical part of musical excellence, but this is damned depressing. Different for the sake of being different, and I struggle like hell to see how it fits within whatever album narrative is being expressed to us. The rest of it is formulaic, but mostly I simply switch off well before this.

I doubt that I will listen to cd1 ever again, unless I am in a self-harm mood.

Thankfully, cd2 has much to recommend and please.

There are two huge epic tracks, opener The Great Spirit Way, and closer Fallout. The commencement of the former has a lovely, and thoroughly welcome, feel of a band jamming its way to the theme, but with surety and purpose. Cook and Esau thunder along, and, for the first time on the album, Durant's keyboards support, rather than dominate, the music. Nicholls, again for the first time on the album, sounds as if he not only means what he is singing, but he does it in time with the music. Some of Holmes' work is delicate and quite lovely. The whole track has some exceptional moods, signature changes, and soars wonderfully in places. There is a rather lovely piano and acoustic guitar passage in the middle section, and then thoughtful keys before the track reasserts itself in grandiose fashion. So, yes, an IQ epic, and whilst I would not put it up against classics of yore, in all honesty, it is so welcome after what came before, you cannot help but love it.

Fire and Security is of a muchness with much of the first cd, and is, therefore, somewhat forgettable. Not bad, but not much of anything.

Perfect Space opens thoughtfully, and is interesting, especially the snare, bass, and guitar interplay before we are transported back to more familiar IQ fare in the shape of Holmes guitar and Durant whirling away. Not a classic by any means, but okay, and could have been great had the opening themes been explored far more.

All, though, is almost forgiven when you listen to album closer, Fallout. This most certainly is a classic IQ epic track. A thoughtful and ambient opening sequence moves into darker territory. Once again, Cook and Esau absolutely shine in pushing the music along, Holmes dominates when he soars, and (I really hate to say this, because I think he is an excellent musician) Durant pulls off a marvellous Orford contribution - by this, I mean he complements the music with some delicate and thoughtful touches, rather than a sampled mess. This is a monster of a track, and thoroughly enjoyable. It has been placed as a worthy addition to the Lazland IQ playlist.

So, to a rating. Three stars for this. A generous two stars for cd1, and a probably equally generous four stars for cd2. I like to think that IQ have at least one more classic in them. Unfortunately, Resistance is not it.

lazland | 3/5 |


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