IQ — The Road of Bones
(Giant Electric Pea GEPCD2046, 2014, 2CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-08-12British neo-prog veterans IQ have seen numerous lineup changes over the past several years. Since 2009’s Frequency, original drummer Paul Cook has returned, longtime bassist John Jowitt has handed his job back to Tim Esau, the guy he replaced (Esau’s work on the early albums was always superb), and keyboards are now in the capable hands of Neil Durant (ex-Sphere). Got all that? Some bands thrive under such circumstances, and while it hasn’t motivated them to work any more quickly (their last three releases have each been spaced five years apart) it hasn’t altered the recorded product much. The same formula of dynamic, heady, and powerfully melodic prog that has been part of the IQ musical brand going back to the early 80s is still on display here. Several versions of the album are available, including single and double disk, plus a deluxe box set that includes a third CD of outtakes and other goodies. Whichever version you get, the musical experience is largely the same. IQ have been guilty of regurgitating the “Supper’s Ready” formula for epics on almost every album (“Without Walls” in this case), though there’s also plenty of fresh ideas and hooks to keep things interesting. Their ongoing partnership with engineer Rob Aubrey means it all sounds great, and guitarist Mike Holmes’ production chops have yet again resulted in songs blessed with wide sonic range, power, and clarity. Singer Peter Nicholls has turned in his usual set of evocative though opaque lyrics, and even though his voice is beginning to mellow into something resembling Tim Bowness he can still reach into dark corners of the subconscious with ease. Some bands prefer consistency with minor tinkering around the edges to constant reinvention. It’s been IQ’s modus operandi for years, and hopefully they’ll be back no later than 2019.
Related artist(s): IQ
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more