IQ - The Seventh House,
At the end of the first verse of “The Wrong Side Of Weird”, a few bars capture for me what makes IQ the top progressive band in Europe. Up to then the band has been slowly building through the introduction and then the verse itself. The keyboards play a repeated motif, but the simple act of changing the bass line totally changes the mood and attack. Ask five IQ fans to pick the single most important member of the band and they could each well pick a different person. Peter Nicholls is without doubt not only a superb lyricist and vocalist, but also one of the best frontmen in the business. Widge not only is renowned for his keyboard playing but also for the fact that many bands would love to have him as a singer. Michael Holmes is a guitarist with control of so many different styles, while John Jowitt is Mr Bass. That only leaves Paul Cook. One of the times I played the album I concentrated solely on the drums, and his impact not only on what he plays but where he does not (if that makes sense) is superb. There is a long period on “Weird” where he does not play at all, but when he comes back in, the fills and patterns he plays totally switch the mood. It is hard yet to say if this is my favourite IQ album, ask me again in a year or so when it has sunk into my psyche. If you like prog, then you must have this. Yet again, IQ set the standard.