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IQ - J'ai Pollette d'Arnu CD (album) cover

J'AI POLLETTE D'ARNU

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

3.31 | 55 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
2 stars 2.5 stars

Don't rely on the minimalistic cover art, this compilation contains a few interesting and enchanting tracks. "J'ai Pollette d'Arnu" are supposedly the first French words the band understood, althought it does not mean anything in Voltaire's tongue. Half-studio, half-live, the set-list is quite heterogeneous, featuring singer Paul Menel, except for one song with Peter Nicholls. The studio part contains 2 previously unreleased tracks and 2 reworked compositions from the debut 1981 cassette "Seven Stories Into Eight". The live part covers the 80's albums, and - unfortunately especially - the second half of the decade, more commercial oriented.

"It All Stops Here" is one of the main interest of the records. Its powerful RUSH-esque intro unveils multiple changing rhythms and as well as nervous, spacey and melancholic atmospheres. A great neo-progressive composition! This is one of the best released version of this song, with the one from "Nine in a Pond is Here", rock-ier than the original from their debut and faster than the later reworked version of "Seven Stories Into 98". In contrast, "Sera Sera", is an enjoyable soft guitar ballad recorded in 1989. "Intelligence Quotient" is the other song from the debut cassette. It also features different atmospheres, but contains cheesy moments, lacks coherency and is uneven. Only track featuring Peter Nicholls, "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" is however the other true highlight of the disc. Composed in 1984, as its title suggests, the ambiance is dark and haunting, with a beautifully touching keyboard passage and an epic finale. Quite original for IQ and neo-prog, and one their best creations! This track can now be found as a bonus on the remastered version of "The Wake".

Concerning the live part, only "Medley" is worth the listen, as it mixes extracts of material from the first half of the eighties (the good one): "The Last Human Gateway", "Outer Limits", "It All Stops Here" and "The Enemy Smacks". Not much to say about the insipid "Common Ground" and the awful "Promises", as they both come from "Nomzamo", the weakest IQ record. "Wurensh" is an anagram for "New Rush", and is also one of the best tracks from their second worst opus, "Are You Sitting Comfortably?". This unfortunately just means just an average song.

This compilation is more for connoisseurs of the band than for newcomers. Without surprises, only tracks composed in 1981-1985 are really interesting, especially "It All Stops Here" and "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir". In conclusion, this disc is a bit uneven and unbalanced, only intended for IQ lovers.

Anyway, "J'ai Pollette d'Arnu" was worth it, because its hidden goal was to finance IQ's next studio album, marking the return of Peter Nicholls...

Modrigue | 2/5 |

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