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IQ – The Seventh House

IQ - The Seventh HouseIQ is back with the first ‘proper studio’ album since the epic Subterranea.  Less ambitious in terms of size – six tracks on one CD – than Subterranea, first impression is that the band has built upon the ‘sub’ experience.  I can hear influences from Ever but also, and to a greater extent, Subterranea.  In fact the album almost has an upbeat edge to it, more like Jadis (in whose studio the album was recorded) than the negative we have come to expect and love.  Naturally, the lyrics make up for that!

The opening track, Wrong Side of Weird, introduces a new, more aggressive and complex edge to the IQ we normally recognise, the vocal clearly used to hold the main melody.  Pete Nicholls’ vocals are very smooth and refined throughout. A good opener, running at a tad over 12 minutes.

Track two, Erosion, is shorter at less than six minutes.  The beginning is very retrospective, soon launching into a Subterranea sound.

The third track is the title track, The Seventh House.  A long one at 14 minutes takes the album back to the Ever sound, but with a touch more aggression again.  Around half way through, the sound and tempo changes yet again harking back to It All Stops Here (from memory) days.

The next track, Zero Hour, rolls gently forward aided by the introduction of some great sax (that reads Sax!  What are you like??)  courtesy of guest musician, Tony Wright, who should in my view be made a permanent member of IQ.

Shooting Angels, the penultimate track, starts off wistfully leading into a real foot stomper.  The jazzy feel to this track again supplied by Tony Wright’s great saxophone playing.  Silly though it sounds, Shooting Angels wouldn’t be out of place if it were released as a single.  IQ on TOTP whatever next?

Guiding Light finishes the set.  Though the start is fairly boring in my view, a couple of minutes in the tempo and thrust suddenly changes into a TFI Friday (or is it Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush?) type theme.  I can see this one being used as a final encore to the next IQ world tour of Bury.

There are no really weak tracks but whilst I don’t see any IQ fan being disappointed in this album, it is not sufficiently different from Ever/Subterranea to set the world on fire.  Perhaps that sounds too negative.  What I should say is that IQ is maturing naturally, the compositions and arrangements are well thought out and executed and should result in widening the fan base deservedly.  Hope I can make the Bury gig in November 2001

Jem Jedrzejewski

 

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