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IQ Frequency GEP/Inside Out (2009)


IQ return with their new album and the first one since original member, keyboards player Martin Orford left the band. Martin was also responsible for running the band's label Giant Electric Pea and has now sadly retired from the music business after releasing his excellent solo album late last year. So a big gap to fill but it has been admirably filled by Mark Westworth, of Darwin's Radio.

The album's title track has been played live by the band for some eighteen months now, although this final album version has lyrical changes a done few musical tweaks. It is also a song that allows guitarist Mike Holmes a chance to play some very impressive solos. Mark Westworth also makes himself known on this song with some lovely 70's sounding keys/synths interwoven throughout the song. 'Life Support' keeps the high standard going and sounds like the band in the 80's days with of course modern production. Again the band are all playing at the top of their game and like any good progressive rock album it takes many listens to soak in all the musical and lyrical delights.

One song that may cause a few ruffles feathers among fans is 'Ryker Skies', a song based on an inmate's journey through a correctional facility. This sees the band experiment with loops and programming more likely to be heard on an album by the Orb. For me it shows the band are still seeking new musical experiences although the slightly dance/trance nature of the music may put off some fans.

The most instant song and possibly the best on the album, is the wonderful 'Closer'. Having just a piano, with some gentle guitar passages underpinning it along with Peter Nicholls impassioned vocal is a real treat. This is the sort of slow piano led number Dream Theater do so well and I have to say IQ beat them at it on this song. Yes it is that good.

IQ, like Pendragon, is one of the few progressive rock bands who always deliver and after hearing a new album you wonder how can they top this? I am sure they can again but for now enjoy this new album which has new musical directions, lovingly crafted ballads and a few delves back into their musical past.


Review by Jason Ritchie

Best of 2009

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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