IQ - Ever,
It is four years since the last IQ album ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably’, and with original singer Peter Nicholls very much back in the fold and ex-Ark bassist John Jowitt now an established member of the band, this was a CD that I and many others have been eagerly awaiting. Opener “The Darkest Hour” grabs your attention right from the off with John and Paul laying down the backbone for some frantic interplay between Martin and Mike. Having got your attention, they shift the song into a lighter mode and Peter’s distinctive vocals take control of this commercial belter. The harmonies are spot on and there are enough mood and style changes to satisfy the progger, yet this is such a great song that it will interest even the casual onlooker. I knew the first time I played the CD that if all the songs were half as good as this then IQ would have a real winner on their hands. “Falling Senses” started with gentle acoustic guitars and sensitive keyboards that leaves plenty of room for Peter’s voice. It is a beautiful ballad that is aided by the sound of an inspired fretless bass line. The song is divided in two, and the second part is a far more menacing instrumental.
“Out of Nowhere” is my favourite track on the album. Mike riffs the guitar, and IQ show how a prog band can rock with the best of them. If you like rock with great musicianship and outstanding vocals, then you will love this, it’s great! “Further Away” is far more delicate and keyboard-based, showing off the emotional and sensitive sides of IQ. It delicately builds to a climax where suddenly the guitar and bass are riffing, providing a deep undertone for Martin to lay down some evocative keyboards. The song is transformed into a dynamic rock number and continues to change, meld and progress in a way that is both fluid and consistent, keeping the interest right to the end. “Leap of Faith’ is more of a rocker again, but it is so easy to listen to and enjoy, even on first hearing. “Came Down” provides a fitting closer with an almost anthemic style. Loads of harmony vocals, but still plenty of room for almost hypnotic guitar.
So, there you have it, six tracks of sheer unadulterated brilliance. I’m glad I received this near the deadline as otherwise I would never have played anything else and would never have got this issue of Feedback finished! ‘Ever’ is a masterpiece, a wonderful collection of differing styles and moods but more importantly all the songs themselves are just great. I know that many of you will already have bought this, but if you have not then I cannot recommend it highly enough.