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IQ - Ever CD (album) cover

EVER

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.05 | 676 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Intelligent

Having been absent from the line up since 1985, during which time IQ recorded 2 further albums, original vocalist Peter Nicholls returned to the fold for this the band's fifth album. Bassist Tim Essau left the band along with Paul Menel, Tim's place being taken by John Jowitt, whose tenure in the band has only recently ended. While these line up changes are of course significant, the far more important news is that with "Ever" IQ ditched their aspirations for commercial success, reverting instead to the fine neo-prog of their early days.

The opening "The Darkest Hour" is one of the finest pieces the band have recorded. Performed at a regal pace, the track boasts great mellotron like synth, fine vocals and a first class arrangement. Mike Holmes guitar sound is more Hackett like than ever, but while the Genesis influences are still apparent, this really is neo-prog defined.

There is a touch of irony to "Fading Senses", one of the shorter tracks at around 6 minutes, as it is the only track to have sub-sections. The two sections are however quite noticeable in an "All good people" sort of way (although there is otherwise no similarity). Retaining the regal tempo, the latter (title) section is primarily an appealing instrumental. While the track segues into the following "Out Of Nowhere", the complex "Apocalypse in 7/8ths" like intro signifies a heavier, more rock orientated number.

If "Out of nowhere" represents the edge of the spectrum of the album on the commercial side, its diagonal opposite is the following 14 minute "Further Away". To describe this piece as a typical IQ classic is simultaneously inadequate but accurate. Centred a similar drum pattern to that mentioned above, the track boasts all the tenets of a first rate neo-prog number.

After an epic piece like "Further away", it makes sense to move to a more gentle mood, and "Leap Of Faith" does just that. Here the emphasis is on a particularly strong melody which Nicholls delivers superbly. The track would have fitted in well on "A trick of the tail", it is that sort of soft-prog. The seamless segue into "Came Down" is very much in keeping with the way "Afterglow" is reached, and indeed "Came down" is admirably "Afterglow" like.

In all, one of the best IQ albums of their entire career. On a par with "Dark matter", "Ever" represents all the tenets which make for a great neo-prog album. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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