IQ
The Wake


4.0
excellent

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (92 Reviews)
June 1st, 2014 | 14 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I can't stand the agony of nothing new.

It's difficult to write about '80s neo-prog without mentioning Marillion. There were a clutch of cult prog bands living in the shadow of the Fish led incarnation of Marillion throughout that decade and IQ were probably the most well known. They went on to shrug off the comparisons and plow their own furrow but listening to this sophomore album it's easy to see why they were regarded as Marillion's baby brother. Neo-prog is really just music which builds upon the symphonic prog sounds of the '70s, notably those of Genesis, and the Genesis influences are indeed noticeable on this record.

So, then, this is just a rehash of old ideas hiding behind a painted face. Well, in some ways yes. Mike Holmes guitar playing is reminiscent of early Hackett in places, Peter Nicholls's nasal timbre could be compared to Peter Gabriel and the band don't stray very far from the traditional symphonic prog sounds of the early '70s. But there is an injection of dark energy, a willingness to embrace melody over experimentation and a salubrious mix of old and new keyboard sounds that lend IQ's sound a more contemporary edge.

This album is decidedly eerie in places. Macabre synth textures, minor mode harmonies and a somewhat biting lyrical delivery give some of the music a dark and unsettling atmosphere. Album highlight, 'Widow's Peak' demonstrates this to full effect with its haunting keyboard sounds, threatening mood and, towards its latter stages, an almost vicious outpouring of emotion as Nicholls barks out his acerbic vocal lines over a driving echoed guitar riff and a pumping rhythm. Some of the music does slip into the realms of forgettability at times but the listener is never left too long to detach before another soaring hook or gentle yearning melody reels them back in. There's nothing really remarkable or desperately original about the album but, compared to the charming naivety of their debut, they are in full flow on here, masters of their vision and uncompromising in its delivery. In the UK the '80s was pretty much a graveyard for contemporary progressive rock but IQ were one of the few shining lights alongside the likes of Marillion, Twelfth Night, Pallas and Pendragon. This album is one of their best.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2014


16113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Headlong http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46eKOHHVh3s
Widow's Peak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z231rTP38fg
The Magic Roundabout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtj2bm5VSQ4


Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

Mad.
June 1st 2014


4066 Comments


Awesome, consise review menawati. Glad to see this got one, really enjoying The Road of Bones right now but this probably isn't my kinda thing, I haven't even really heard Genesis yet lol

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2014


16113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks Mad, this is very 80s, you might like some of the songs though

TheNotrap
June 1st 2014


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Overlooked music.
I read the review later.


Digging: Pink Floyd - The Endless River

Nagrarok
June 1st 2014


8298 Comments


Nice, concise review indeed. As I've mentioned before I need to give this band a listen.

Jethro42
June 1st 2014


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't really remember the songs on that album. I remember Widow's Peak to be a great song. Great review!

dannyboy89
June 1st 2014


12831 Comments


Sweet review. I'm familiar with the band but need to jam this properly.

Friday13th
June 1st 2014


2650 Comments


yup I need to get this one under my belt

Digging: Triana - El Patio

pragpro
June 2nd 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Remixed version that came out a few years ago is the way to go if you want to listen to this album. Sounds like a brand new album.

Friday13th
June 2nd 2014


2650 Comments


^dude let me just say I love your username

pragpro
June 2nd 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The thing that, for me, makes this band different then Genesis, is that Genesis is a pastoral band, and IQ has been influenced by the alternative rock of the early 1980s, they have a more metallic edge and Peter Nicholls, (vox.) is informed by The Cure, The Smiths. The Genesis song, "The Knife", is where the cross-over influence can be best observed, but IQ is a much more gothic, darker band. Like Tony Banks, Martin Orford goes on keyboard solo runs, while still providing analog synth landscaping/lighting that a lot of classical influenced prog did. The bass is higher up in the mix with an IQ album rather then a Mike Rutherford performance. Mike Holmes doesn't play guitar like Steve Hackett so much as he occupies the same positions. It's like a soccer team that comes out in the same formation as another, and I think that's what the Neo-Prog movement has at it's hallmark, but with Genesis, during the PG/SH era having a pastoral duo acoustic natural English Country Side affection.

Marillion and IQ are more urban. Fish/Nicholls/Gabriel they are all single-high strikers, classic front men, the show, the lead, but with with guitar and keys often moving forward.

Kelly/Orford/Banks provide a strong back-line, Hackett/Rothery/Holmes are swashbuckling central-midfielders who go forward with angular movements and can also provide the back-drop when one of the keyboard's fullbacks get forward. The bass playing seemed to be back in the mix more for Genesis and Marillion, and the lines are a bit more busy for IQ.

All of these guys are Classically trained musicians, because Europe and the UK invest in music, and so you are going to see more refinement, but less of what informs a self-taught blues or punk American player. Jazz wasn't really taught to Public School Boys, (ironically private school), in the 1960s. So this is more so where the easy comparisons are made between Classic Era Prog and Neo-Prog.

They are like Classic French Cooking Schooled Chefs, and there are classic signatures, movements, tunings, they were taught the same. This comes through in the music, but the intent and personal styles are all different.

Did I mix enough metaphors yet?

pragpro
June 2nd 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Friday13th: Dig it

pragpro
June 2nd 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I would also say, "The Musical Box" is right in the darker Genesis IQ wheel-house. IQ sometimes plays 'Robbery, Assault and Battery', live...because they can.

pragpro
June 2nd 2014


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gabriel was inserting a lot ironic humor in Hogweed and during his whole period, while the IQ stuff is all more literal. Perhaps because PG was younger and more self-effacing, and he was informed by Monty Python and lat 1960s British Ironica.



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