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Neo-Prog • United Kingdom

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IQ picture
IQ biography
Founded in Southampton, England in 1981

What's the difference between a band and a cult band? A charismatic frontman, able to seduce the audience with a single look? A mastermind, conducting his fellow geniuses to sheer excellence? A dedicated and addicted following lasting three decades? An outstanding live concept combining stage charisma, true emotions and self-ironic humor?

Take it all, add a catalogue in which every new entry is described as 'the latest masterpiece' and you get IQ.

Rising from the ashes of THE LENS in 1981, the original line up of Peter NICHOLLS, Michael HOLMES, Martin ORFORD, Paul COOK and Tim ESAU formed a band achieving the impossible - the combination of such diverse styles as prog, punk, jazz and even reggae. Their first cassette album, later re-released on GEP as 'SEVEN STORIES INTO 98', is still an outstanding example of that.

Both their first vinyl albums 'TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC' and 'THE WAKE' gained instant classic status in the 'new wave of British progressive rock'. Soon the band became a regular in London's world famous Marquee club, performed more than 200 gigs each year in the UK (as seen in the 'LIVE FROM LONDON' video from 1985), and quickly attained a strong and loyal following.

After signing to POLYGRAM in 1987 with new singer Paul MENEL, they released 'NOMZAMO' featuring the single 'PROMISES' which made it high in the Dutch charts. European tours and the album 'ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY?' followed, but MENEL and bass player Tim ESAU left the band shortly after in 1989.

What could have been the end was in fact just another beginning. NICHOLLS rejoined and was welcomed back enthusiastically at concerts in London and Paris. At the same time GEP was founded by musicians and associates of IQ with the rarities album 'JŽAI POLLETTE DŽARNU' becoming the label's debut release.

In 1993 IQ's new album 'EVER' thrilled fans old and new with a modern and yet traditional interpretation of progressive rock. With new bassist John JOWITT (ex-ARK) the band embarked on a storming tour of the UK and mainland Europe, and played acclaimed festival appearances in the USA and South America. The tour was captured on film at the celebrated 'FOREVER LIVE' show in Kleve and was released in a special box set featuring video, double CD and large booklet.

In 1997, IQ released 'SUBTERRENEA', a ...
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Buy IQ Music

Dark MatterDark Matter
GEP 2013
$11.21 (used)
The Road of BonesThe Road of Bones
Giant Electric Pea 2014
$18.45 (used)
Wake: Expanded EditionWake: Expanded Edition
Giant Electric Pea 2016
$9.00 (used)
Scrape Across the Sky [Blu-ray]Scrape Across the Sky [Blu-ray]
Giant Electric Pea 2017
$28.81 (used)
Giant Electric Pea 1998
$10.25 (used)
Seventh HouseSeventh House
Inside Out Germany 2004
$9.42 (used)
$15.42 (used)
Forever LiveForever Live
Inside Out Germany 2004
$13.08 (used)
Tales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-MixTales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-Mix
Ais 2013
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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IQ Xmas Show Ticket Stub, Mean Fiddler, London 2005 + Martin Orford signed beer USD $25.23 Buy It Now 2 days
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UK MIXMASTERS Lucky 7 Megamix 7" VINYL UK Iq 1991 Megamix Of Kylie Songs USD $4.40 Buy It Now 3 days
J4L&P Keep Me Satisfied 7" VINYL UK Iq 1991 B/W Instrumental Mix (Zb44735) USD $4.40 Buy It Now 3 days
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J 4 L & P Keep Me Satisfied 7" VINYL UK Iq 1991 B/W Instrumental Mix (Zb4473 USD $2.93 Buy It Now 3 days
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IQ DECIDES Cheek To Cheek 7" VINYL UK Intermelody 1989 Hand Written White Label USD $4.40 Buy It Now 3 days
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SOPHIE LAWRENCE Love's Unkind 12" VINYL UK Iq 1991 2 Track Extended Club Mix USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
IQ Nomzamo 7" VINYL UK Tortured Artists 1986 1 Track 1 Sided Demo Version Fan USD $46.33 Buy It Now 3 days
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J 4 L & P Keep Me Satisfied 7" VINYL UK Iq 1991 B/W Instrumental Mix (Zb44735) USD $4.40 Buy It Now 3 days
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IQ discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

IQ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 436 ratings
Tales From The Lush Attic
3.79 | 533 ratings
The Wake
2.79 | 310 ratings
2.70 | 286 ratings
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
4.05 | 597 ratings
3.96 | 609 ratings
3.47 | 140 ratings
Seven Stories Into 98
4.00 | 604 ratings
The Seventh House
4.03 | 859 ratings
Dark Matter
4.10 | 838 ratings
4.25 | 1084 ratings
The Road Of Bones

IQ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.99 | 77 ratings
Living Proof
3.84 | 91 ratings
Forever Live
4.30 | 20 ratings
Subterranea Tour Live Germany
4.23 | 16 ratings
Head Long to Argentina
4.28 | 18 ratings
La Maroquinerie, Paris 18 Nov. 2000
4.22 | 78 ratings
Subterranea: The Concert
4.54 | 33 ratings
The Archive Collection - IQ20
4.48 | 64 ratings
The Wake - Live At De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
4.00 | 1 ratings
De Boerderij Zoetermeer Holland 23 October 2011
4.68 | 32 ratings
Live On The Road Of Bones

IQ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.35 | 63 ratings
Subterranea - The Concert
4.43 | 57 ratings
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show
3.77 | 30 ratings
Live From London
4.48 | 117 ratings
3.88 | 31 ratings
Forever Live
4.42 | 19 ratings
Scrape Across The Sky

IQ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 58 ratings
J'ai Pollette d'Arnu
4.68 | 31 ratings
For Ever Live
3.44 | 65 ratings
The Lost Attic - A Collection Of Rarities (1983-1999)
4.40 | 35 ratings
The Wake 2010 Remaster
3.40 | 15 ratings
4.62 | 86 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic 2013 Remix

IQ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
3.67 | 3 ratings
Awake And Nervous
2.89 | 9 ratings
Barbell Is In
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Legendary IQ Free Record
3.20 | 5 ratings
2.73 | 35 ratings
Nine in a Pond is Here
3.00 | 2 ratings
3.33 | 3 ratings
Intelligence Quotient
2.75 | 3 ratings
Promises (As The Years Go By)
3.75 | 4 ratings
Here There And Everywhere
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Love Lost
3.00 | 4 ratings
Passing Strangers
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Big Balls Of Bert Christ
2.00 | 1 ratings
One More Boxer
3.20 | 10 ratings
Sold On You
2.00 | 1 ratings
Drive On
2.00 | 2 ratings
Bulba Neeny Noo
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Darkest Hour
3.68 | 29 ratings
Frequency Tour
3.94 | 18 ratings
Tales from a Dark Christmas

IQ Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Frequency by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 838 ratings

IQ Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Early 2018 IQ have announced that they will do their annual Christmas Bash gig in The Netherlands on December 15th, that is something to look forward to. Because after all those many years IQ is still 'alive and neo-progging', since the release of their debut album entitled Tales From The Lush Attic from 1983. And during the years IQ have delivered so many quality albums, this album from 2009 entitled Frequency is my favourite one of the last two decades.

The album opens with the titeltrack, first sounds effects and then we can enjoy IQ in its full splendour: slow rhythms with a bombastic atmosphere featuring fiery and howling electric guitar runs and moving violin- and choir Mellotron eruptions, by Mark Westworth who has replaced founding member Martin Orford in 2007. For me this is IQ their trademark, very compelling and exciting. And what a tension and dynamics, and what a very promising first composition.

In the other six tracks IQ also finds a perfect balance: between dreamy atmospheres, propulsive mid-tempo rhythms and bombastic outbursts, embellished with great work on guitar and keyboards (with frequent mid- Genesis undertones). From wonderful guitar play with the volume pedal, majestic choir-Mellotron and sensational synthesizer flights in Life Support to a strong vocal performance and a spectacular break in the varied Stronger Than Friction. How wonderful and alternating is the short, dreamy One Fatal Mistake: acoustic rhythm guitar, soaring strings and warm vocals, concluded with Tony Banks sounding choir-Mellotron drops. We can enjoy a mouth-watering vintage keyboard sound (Hammond, Mellotron, Minimoog) and propulsive bass play in Ryker Skies and strong vocals with tasteful guitar ' and keyboard colouring in the beautiful ballad Closer.

But my absolute highlight is the magnum opus The Province, a constant 'neo-symphonic eargasm' of almost 14 minutes. The keyboard work is outstanding and varied: lush Hammond, impressive choir- Mellotron layers and flashy Minimoog runs (halfway a hypnotizing solo that reminds me of Tony Banks in Supper's Ready from Genesis). There is a compelling tension between the flowing shifting moods, from wonderful twanging 12-string acoustic guitar to sumptuous eruptions. We can enjoy an exciting part featuring propulsive guitar riffs and drums (by newcomer Andy Edwards) with powerful Hammond and a moving electric guitar solo with violin- Mellotron waves. And a warm conclusion with intense vocals and tender piano.

It's incredible how IQ have matured since Martin Orford and Mike Holmes founded the band in 1981: it has become an experienced unit, John Jowitt's powerful and creative bass work is omnipresent, Peter Nicholls sings as never before and new keyboardist Mark Westworth shines. What an outstanding and very exciting album, it comes close to my 'all time favourite IQ album' The Wake (from 1985), highly recommended!

 Promises (As The Years Go By) by IQ album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.75 | 3 ratings

Promises (As The Years Go By)
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Theo Verstrael

3 stars IQ never was a commercial band nor will they ever be. Thankfully there are still good things in today's world!! Yet they did a couple of efforts to become more commercially accepted, especially during the period of Pete Nicholl's absence. 'Promises' is as close as they will ever get to being commercially successful for it is a very catchy tune with an addictive theme, an easy-to-recognize melody-chorus built-up and a suitable length. And albeit that I loathe commercially inspired music, I find this a great track that I come back to regularly. It's clever, it rocks, it appeals. And from my surroundings I know that especially this track made IQ more acceptable for those who don't fancy odd time changes, heavy riffing or extensive musical suits, IQ's trademark. 'Nomzamo' is the beautiful title track of their third full length album with Paul Menel in excellent form. The quiet music is a respectful ode to Winnie Mandela for her role in fighting the horrors of apartheid. 'No love lost' is again quite commercial and dispensable for it lacks about everything that makes 'Promises' such a great track. But you'd better buy the album ....
 Dark Matter by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.03 | 859 ratings

Dark Matter
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars IQ's "Dark Matter" is a 2004 release of Neo Prog infamy. There are only 5 tracks but the last is a 24 minute epic with 6 sections in the best traditional sense of finishing an album with a complex multi movement suite. After hearing IQ masterpieces "Ever", "Frequency" and "The Road of Bones" I knew I would return to IQ's back catalogue eventually. The revolving door of keyboardist personnel would occur following this release as it is Martin Orford's final time with the band. So here we go with perhaps the darkest IQ album.

Sacred Sound opens with melancholy atmospheres, with gentle keyboards and the crystal tones of Peter Nicholl's vocals. It builds with a strong rhythm section and moves into some great instrumental passages. Red Dust Shadow is a very tranquil song with some ethereal keyboards and a heartfelt vocal about the loneliness we feel inside and how to cope in this broken state. Again it builds into a rhythmic tempo and the organic sound has some beautiful atmospheres with an emotional resonance.

This segues into a ticking clock to signal the emergence of the next track, You Never Will. This is driven by a Hammond sound and Nicholl's powerhouse vocals "as the shadows fall on All Hallows Eve", and we "spin the tangled web" on those we deceive, and the hope that "you will come but you never will". The themes of emptiness and despair over unrequited love is recurring on the album. This song has a more accessible feel with an infectious melody and is more akin to a ballad.

Born Brilliant transitions fluidly to a darker atmosphere, with choral keys like an angel chorus, and Nicholls has a phased out vocal about nothing turning out the way he planned, including New Years Resolutions. He sings of cataloguing all his failures, and pure intentions are discarded and he feels abandoned, inarticulate and lost. Mike Holmes shines with a lead guitar break that has some soaring string bends and gives the track a melancholy edge.

Harvest of Souls (24:29) is a massive epic opening with i. First Of The Last, acoustically driven with Nicholls emotional delivery. This segues to ii. The Wrong Host, where the tempo gets stronger, then iii. Nocturne, iv. Frame And Form, v. Mortal Procession and finally vi. Ghosts Of Days. Within this epic there are many time sig changes and mood shifts including, marching drums of Paul Cook, so also plays some blast beats in one section. John Jowitt's bass lines are always present powering the music along. The themes of coping and gaining the will to carry on, forging ahead despite the lonely despair one may feel are prevalent in the lyrics. The protagonist has been betrayed and is hoping to restore the relationship but she is gone. The music reflects this emotional framework, with some very dark keyboard swells and walls crashing down.

Overall this is a solid Neo Prog album with a few moments that are innovative and masterfully executed. The darker lyrics do not resonate with me as much as the material on subsequent releases but this is nevertheless a strong album with some excellent musicianship.

 The Seventh House by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.00 | 604 ratings

The Seventh House
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars After the critical success and arguable artistic peak of their 1997 album "Subterranea" which saw the band step it up in many ways in compositional quality, the band IQ took their usual multi-year time off before releasing a new album with the bonus of a rerelease of their demo "Seven Stories Into Eight" finding its way onto the CD format for the new ages. Living up to its numerical title THE SEVENTH HOUSE is indeed the 7th studio album of Mike Holmes' and Martin Orford's successful neo-prog band that was one of the major players of the great prog revival that swept the 90s after the botched attempt to go commercial at the tail end of the 80s with their combo effect and oft-loathed "Nomzamo" and "Are You Sitting Comfortable" debacle. Not only did the band overcome the train wreck with the strong comeback "Ever," but outdid themselves and the entire neo-prog scene with their amazing masterpiece double album "Subterranea." Having enjoyed a stable lineup, THE SEVENTH HOUSE sees a return of the exact same members including the amazing vocal skills of Peter Nicholls.

IQ once again dish out a concept based album where the sound of the musicians are designed to support the lyrical content and while lyrics are rarely the goal of my musical experience, the neo-prog branch of progressive rock certainly demands an intense attention span of lyrical content due to it being the main focus of the musical delivery. THE SEVENTH HOUSE is no exception to this general rule and meanders through a fairly nebulous tale of a person who returns to a location where he was part of some unknown battle that purportedly would make the world a better place and ultimately ended up as the only survival of the group but is redeemed at the end when he meets his guardian angel who helped him survive the ordeal. While it all sounds syrupy soap opera-ish on paper (or screen rather!), somehow IQ can take a Hallmark channel type of tear jerking story and turn it into a musical bonanza that cranks out the subtle and sensual melodic developments that ratchet up the tension that can reach the intensity of crescendoing metal guitar domination.

Upon first listen THE SEVENTH HOUSE is definitely a step down from "Subterranea" in about every way, mostly in the fact that the band seems that they have settled into their respective sound quite comfortably. Also gone is the wow factor of ratcheting up the progressiveness and complexity as well as the creativity. THE SEVENTH HOUSE certainly sounds like IQ has been there, done that before with a strong connection to the "Ever" period as well as the albums that followed. However, neo-prog isn't a type of prog that demands an incessant flow of zowie wowie ideas and gimmicks. What it all boils down for me are strong catchy melodic hooks that are suavely decked out with the appropriate instrumentation all the while fortified with a strong vocal delivery and on all counts, THE SEVENTH HOUSE delivers all the goods in every checked off department. At this stage, the band had perfected their sound and despite running on autopilot, they nevertheless created a satisfying romp through the symphonic and heavy rock universe with some jazzy touches led by Nicholls' stellar ability to connect the listener to the story.

While THE SEVENTH HOUSE won't go down as my all time favorite IQ listening experience, i can only concur that it is a consistent and satisfying one at least and a continuation of the strong albums that they would continue to unleash well into the 21st century. So overall, not a perfect album in that it continues down the path that they laid down however IQ deliver an excellent mix of symphonic mellow rock that includes piano driven segments as well as the more bombastic heavy rock episodes complete with sizzling guitar solos provided by Mike Holmes. THE SEVENTH HOUSE may not win over anyone who hasn't already joined the club but it certainly continues to keep the members who have already been admitted properly satisfied and for a neo-prog band of this calibre, that's good enough for me.

 Scrape Across The Sky by IQ album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.42 | 19 ratings

Scrape Across The Sky
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars IQ has offered us many high-quality studio albums and many live releases over their career, "Road To The Bones" is no exception. This is their first Blu-Ray shot in a small club in Holland. They played all of the first cd of their last album, one from the second cd, plus classics from various albums. How can we say something wrong about this professionalism band in terms of playing display, the songs being performed faithfully to the studio versions. However, it is a little bit frustrating for me to hear many drops in the surround sound through the show, unlike the stereo sound that you can listen also in the extras with all the projections. The song "Until The End" was also shown in the extras at the Lorelei Festival. I would have preferred to see this complete show instead of the one they choose because it looks better on a bigger stage. In the extras, there's an interview between Peter Nicholls and the artist designer that will appeal to a few people. They should have done interviews with the band's members instead. So, thumbs up for the performance, the set list and thumbs down for some technical issue with the surround sound, that is still good for the spatialization. IQ score of 4
 Subterranea by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.96 | 609 ratings

IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars IQ had a rocky road at the latter part of the 80s with a couple sub-stellar releases but managed to find a firm footing in the progressive rock arenas once again with their 1993 comeback "Ever." Apparently deciding to never repeat the mistakes of such bellyflops as "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" ever again, the band now had a stable lineup with creative juices just bubbling over in mega-effervescence and spent four years polishing their craft before they unleashed the grandiose double album monstrosity SUBTERRANEA which took all the excesses of prog and ran away with them unapologetically. This behemoth of a musical extravaganza will require many trips to the buffet, periods of stepping back for proper digestion and then further revisitation for the full-on effect to properly gel within the listener's inner music box.

IQ stepped it up in every possible way on SUBTERRANEA. Firstly with the lyrical contents they deliver a highly complex story about a man (remaining mysterious and nameless) who was held captive for most of his life and deprived of the most ordinary of experiences that most of us take for granted on a daily basis. After being released he's deluged by the Captain America effect meaning that he has woken up to a world that has passed him by in every regard and his struggle to catch up leaves him destitute and grasping for his sanity. The story becomes a full-fledged musical soap opera as he falls in love with a girl named Maya, discovers others who have been experimented and detained against their will and joins forces to take revenge against the miscreants who carried out these atrocities. The plot fails and this same guy ends up back to the very isolation from which the story began thus creating a full circle approach to story telling all the while backed up by some of the most compelling progressive musical deliveries that the 90s had to offer.

Lucky for IQ that Peter Nicholls returned to the helm as vocalist and lyrical contributor in chief because he churns out some of the most compelling yet mysteriously vague story content of his career as done right in true prog fashion leaving the other members to focus exclusively on the musical accompaniment which is nothing short of brilliant as IQ dishes out some of the strongest melodies and song structures of their career with each cadence wresting a heart felt explosion of emotional reaction as keyboard lines tinkle their way into a gravitational pull that is utterly irresistible. The group interplay is beyond strong as even the longest of tracks such as the double-discker's closer "The Narrow Margin" keeps the listener enthralled for its entirety. Nicholls' vocal performance is absolutely top notch and each track successfully builds upon what came before and creates a true complete album experience like very few others of the newly resurrected prog universe of the 90s succeeded in accomplishing.

While it's no secret that IQ was always a Peter Gabriel era Genesis type of band, SUBTERRANEA can certainly bring the double album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" to mind not only in its scope and delivery with accessible keyboard driven musical prosody accompanied by excellent lyrical elocution but offers a more obnubilated sense of meaning and only offers an impressionalist's perspective of a story that leaves more questions dangling about than it it answers however even if you couldn't give a flying bleep about the lyrics, the music on this one offers a diverse array of neo-prog perfection that adheres to all the genre expectations of beautifully laid out extended compositions that ratchet up the emotional responses in a systematic and melodic way. This isn't one for the casual listener and like many complex works requires some commitment to understand but with a little devotion can be easily extricated from its inscrutable initial impressions.

 Ever by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.05 | 597 ratings

IQ Neo-Prog

Review by nandprogger

4 stars IQ is one of my favorite neo prog prog bands "Ever". This album shows a evolution of mixing and continous evolution of creativity and accessible music for all public. IQ have a proper style in neo prog scene that a differential in prog rock music. In general the most neo prog bands looks the same, in my point of view.

In this album, "Darkest hour" happened a balance between good neo prog and a song for hear in a car. the melody is so fixing in the head, simple variations of compass of passing music."Fading scenes" begin as a simple and envolving balad and continues with elements of hard rock and and brilliant melodies of keyboard, turn and return inter a balad and wild riffs"Out of nowhere" follow a dancing beat with mellotrons and hard rock riffs, althougha few repetitive formula of a lot neo prog music ( in special in drums) this song so fantastic. The next song " Further away" follow the line line of "Fading scenes" swings in moments of a calm balad and vigorous prog song, featured of Martin Orford. "Leap of Faith" is true balad of the album where the sync of the group show, vocals, guitars and keyboard continues with variation of compass and guitar solo. The final song is for me the most poor song,

Certainly, "Ever" is one of more important album of IQ carrer, the quality of mixing compared of "The Wake" is so noticeable, it's songs clean and define a style of group, different of others bands of neo prog. IQ is one os most important neo prog bands, and this album contributed for this.

 Ever by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.05 | 597 ratings

IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars And then like a waking up from a bad dream, IQ emerged from a tumultuous and heartbreaking period. First there were the two albums with P. L. Menel as vocalist where the band steered towards a more commercial sounding blandness but secondly and most important was a series of deaths of band members' friends and family. Not only did they lose their bassist Les Marshall a few years back but both guitarist Mike Holmes and Peter Nicholls would lose their fathers as well as their good friend Georf Mann who was taken out by cancer. After all this turmoil IQ reconvened along with original vocalist Peter Nicholls and not only rediscovered their original musical prowess that should have continued after "The Wake," but with their sixth studio album EVER initiated a new creative period that would continue up to the present. While such missteps and events can easily destroy a band's trajectory, IQ proved they were up to the challenge of channeling all of the negativity and constructing a new reality.

As with such tragedy and unfortunate events that change our realities, the members of IQ expressed their grief through their music. In addition to going back to their original goals of creating captivating neo-prog music, Peter Nicholls was back on vocals and John Jowitt would replace Tim Esau on bass. All this change and lament resulted in a therapy session via musical expression and while the universe may have taken away, it also rewarded with a refreshed and inspired direction for the band to take and one that they have not strayed from ever since. Faced with all this melancholy the band channeled their energies into their renaissance album that displays all their early confidence and deftly crafted a beautiful album that deals with the loss of friends and family and of the insecurities we all face with the fleeting impermanence of life.

With brilliantly delivered lyrical content that is strongly poetic and an excellent production to boot, each band member shines like a ray of sun through a darkened catacomb offering a glimmer of hope in the cold and brutal world. From the first energetic burst of energy as "The Darkest Hour" initiates the album's overall melancholy, we are treated to extraordinarily strong musical material with Paul Cook stepping up his drumming skills, Mike Holmes creating soaring guitar licks and Martin Orford icing the cake with his atmospheric keyboard magic as well as taking the liberty to show off some virtuosity in the mix. John Jowitt's bass playing skills are the perfect rhythmic and melodic complement to the other musicians and Nicholls proves he was the man who meant to deliver the vocals with a renewed sense of self-assurance. While there are no weak tracks on EVER, some are stronger than others. The 14 and a half minute prog workout "Further Away" takes the listener to another world with strong melodies and developments that run the gamut of the neo-prog universe with perfect execution.

While few bands recover from the major tumble IQ undertook with two unpopular albums and a series of personal cataclysms, not only did Orford and company pull themselves together with dignity but in the process not only revived their own musical career but also contributed to awakening the entire sleeping prog universe in the early 90s when a new wave of progressive rock was slowly crawling from its sleeping chambers and proving that it still had not just a pulse left but enough vitality to make a full blown comeback after lurking in the darkness for the previous decade. Yes, the nightmare had ended and EVER would become one of the most successful comeback albums in the prog universe and would turn the page and start a new chapter in its history.

 Are You Sitting Comfortably? by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.70 | 286 ratings

Are You Sitting Comfortably?
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

1 stars I take pride in the fact that i always try to find something good in an album that is universally panned and often i have the exact opposite reaction to a certain type of experiment in a group's discography that doesn't sit well with hardcore fans, but there are times when an album deserves every bit of hatred that is bestowed upon it and the neo-prog pioneers IQ hit their absolute nadir on their 4th studio release ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY? This is the epitome of a musical disaster in a band's career where really nothing went right. The pathetic thing about this one is the fact that the band sounds like they are so serious in trying to pull it off together.

This is the second album to feature Paul Menel on vocals after Peter Nicholls departed following "The Wake." The rest of the musical cast is the same as "Nonzamo." It does seem that the band were feeling some sort of jealousy over the success of their heroes in Genesis while they were killing it on the pop charts in the 80s and raking in the dough. IQ were also tempted by the pop side of the musical force and tried to emulate their influences by going in that direction. Unfortunately however, while Genesis and Gabriel had the chops to actually construct catchy pop albums, Orford and company weren't so lucky. This album just reeks of wannabeism and ultimately falls short in every manner. Dreadfully Menel's vocals display the first weakness and most obvious inferiority complex here. Although he tries, he just lacks the zingy passion that Nicholls dished out. Add the limp songwriting, lackadaisical keyboards, lazy percussion, flaccid guitar performances and woefully insipid overall production and we get a big fat turkey here but not the kind you wanna eat for Thanksgiving.

"War Heroes" starts off ok and while it doesn't sound like any particular peak of 80s neo-prog, it also isn't the most horrendous sounding track of the lot. It does however sound like a rather weak version of an 80s Peter Gabriel solo offering. Things go south VERY quickly on the second track "Drive On" where we're greeted (or cheated rather) with the most cheesy of synthesizers accompanied by an even cheesier drum beat. The lyrics are absolutely horrendous and the whole thing comes across as a Duran Duran reject that wouldn't have even reemerged as a bonus track. It really is just so very baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad and i do mean bad meaning bad, not bad meaning good. The next track "Nostalgia" tries to pull off some instrumental stratagem into gaining a foothold into a more progified universe, but ends up just sounding cheap because other than the attempt to create some atmospheric sounds comes across like a weak 4/4 timed attempt to sound new wave eight years too late and then the cheesy drums and lyrics come in all gussied up with synthesized dressing and ends up sounding totally lame.

I don't need to go on. This one is just the worst attempt for a prog band to enter into the pop universe that i've ever heard and i'm hugely tolerant of progressive pop. Good pop music is a talent all itself and while many a prog band had successful navigated their talents into that musical realm, IQ were clearly out of their element. In fact, it's actually the case that the band were masters of one specific sub genre only and continue shine within it, but once stepping outside of its murky boundaries find themselves playing the role of not only a fish out of water, but a fish in the party punch with a tutu on. No disrespect for any fish that wish to do so, of course, i only am pointing out a pointless musical meandering into an almost parody zone. This one is just so bad that it truly is the worst of the worst. I found life in "Nonzamo" to the point that i could give it 3 stars, but ARE YOU SITTING COMFORABLY? just makes me feel like i'm sitting in the emergency room in line with a bunch of coughing and hacking indigents while crossing my legs because i have to pee and the bathroom is closed because someone clogged up the toilets. A classic example of WTF were you thinking, guys? Luckily, IQ would come back on the next album "Ever" and never punish us with such crap again.

 Frequency by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 838 ratings

IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars IQ's best album of the 2000's

It's a pity one of IQ's worst cover art is on one of their best records. Not frequently cited, this tenth studio album is quite inspired and modern, while preserving the band's musical identity. The musicians real entered the new millennium this time. Maybe a little less adventurous than previously, the songs are however more coherent, incorporates elements of other progressive styles such as heavy prog or prog metal, and the quality is present.

The heavy title track contains all what you can expect from IQ at the beginning of the 21st century: a dark opening, rocky passages, enchanting trademark keyboards, pretty melodies and powerful soli. Simply one the best compositions from the band! "Life Support" can be divided in two parts. The melancholic first half is dominated by piano-driven, whereas the second half displays unreal eerie music typical if IQ. The progressive "Stronger Than Friction" is also good, alternating dark, smooth and epic atmospheres. Ironically, the romantic ballad "One Fatal Mistake" is rather soapy and out of place. Fortunately, this song is also the shortest. Therefore, this little mistake is far from being fatal for the disc.

Serious business comes back with the GENESIS-influenced "Ryker Skies", however darker and more modern. Another nice composition in the style of the band, with a good progression, futuristic beat and a spacey passage. "The Province" is the longest track of the record. It first starts with beautiful delicate guitars to then surprising become more ferocious and heavy. I bet you were not expecting that. The contrast is striking, and the dream is turning into a nightmare! Really efficient. Unfortunately, this nearly flawless hour of music concludes with the insipid and repetitive "Closer". The dark side of neo-prog...

Containing only two weak tracks, more convincing and personal than its predecessor, "Dark Matter", "Frequency" finally shows the musicians modernizing their style while preserving their soul and composition quality. Melancholic and somber, smooth and oppressive, nonetheless recommended to IQ fans, this opus is one of the best neo-progressive albums of the 21st century! Also adapted to discover the band if you're not familiar with this genre.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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