Inside Out Music, 2009

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


After ten years of writing these things, I have found that I get emotionally tied up in some of my favorite bands/review subjects. And since Spock’s Beard is mailing it in now, Great Big Sea has stumbled, and Alan Parsons isn’t recording, it’s been a rough year or two for yours truly.

Well, thank heavens for IQ. Despite their low recording rate they continue, as far as I’m concerned, to be some of the best things going in progressive rock.  What IQ has that some progressive bands lack is the immediacy of a musical hook; the brief musical phrase that pulls you in, demands your attention, insists that you pay attention, damn it. IQ is not musical pudding or ear candy; they are complex and arcane. Since listening to them requires work, they will never have wide-spread acceptance or fame – and frankly, I’m fine with that. Because their quirky, insistent ways continues to produce magnificent CDs like their latest, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Frequency.

From the moment the thundering opening to “Frequency” blew through my speakers, I was hooked.  I’ll be the first one to admit Peter Nicholls vocals are unusual, but they’re also brilliant; in substance he reminds me of Geddy Lee, though there’s no superficial similarity. Mike Holmes continues to be one of the most underrated guitarists in rock music, and new keyboardist Martin Wentworth slips right into the mix without a ripple with a perfect fat prog-synth sound.  For me, however, it’s Andy Edwards’ drumming that provides the heartbeat and backbone on Frequency. He pulls off counterpoints and rhythms like Neil Peart, and I don’t give that kind of praise lightly. The nine-minute “Riker Skies” is, as far as I’m concerned, a way to show us just how damned good the interplay of Holmes, Edwards, and Wentworth is, and it’s incredible. Add in gentle ballads like “Life Support” and “One Fatal Mistake”, the ‘watch us out-Marillion Marillion’ “The Province”, and what you have here is a big, tasty, amazing chunk of progressive rock music. By the time I got to the triumphant “Closer”, I felt like I was going to expire from the sheer coolness of it all.

Prog rock isn’t dead; if anything, it’s stripped out some dead weight and become leaner, meaner, and badder. IQ’s Frequency is a perfect example of the genre. Do NOT miss it.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Inside Out Music, and is used for informational purposes only.