I am on Holiday. Having endured the drizzling rain and wind for the past month in the North of England, I am sitting in the sunshine of Lanzarote nursing a small beer and listening to some new albums. Usually when on holiday, I load up the I Pod with 1500 tracks, press shuffle and let it do its thing. A sort of radio station full of prog ( but with no DJ’s ) and not knowing what’s coming on next.
But this time it’s different. I am listening to full albums in their entirety. And not just once. Many times over. Serious listening. All in the Progarchy cause. In the sun. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
The first album up is IQ The Road of Bones. I listened to it on the Plane coming over. Noise cancelling headphones of course. Further listening’s over the last couple of days in aforementioned sunny pool area. Do your surroundings when you first hear an album have a direct influence on how you feel about it? Every time I hear Dark Side Of The Moon I can picture my small bedroom, where the posters were on the wall and the small portable record player I had to play my albums on. Now, every time I hear the new IQ album, I will think of this holiday. Why???
Because it is stunning.
Russell Clarke has already posted a fantastic review of this album and has gone into all the tracks in detail. I just want to add my little two penneth to certain tracks and my feel about the whole album.
I liked Frequency. Didn’t blow me away but I liked it. This album blew me away from the start and just kept on blowing. Russell is right. Don’t mess around with the single album. Get the double. One of the best “bonus discs” ever. It could stand alone as an IQ album. My guess is that these songs didn’t fit in with the Road of Bones concept and so found themselves on a separate disc. The fist two tracks are prog at its very best. Knuclehead starts like its going to be a track on a Peter Gabriel album then gets heavier and heavier.
1312 overture is very clever. It starts with the end of the 1812 overture by Tchaikovsky, then goes into a tight prog rhythm. Do you like to count beats to songs. I can spend many a happy minute counting along to Apocalypse in 9/8. This one had me confused for a while until I looked at the title. 1312 overture. Why 1312. Start counting. One bar of 13 beats followed by another of 12 beats. Very clever.
The Road of Bones album has to be a contender for 2014 top 5. Peters vocals are controlled and sound more mature. He is sweet when he needs to be and downright ugly when the song calls for it. On this album IQ get very angry indeed. Throughout, the synths lay down a template for the bass and guitars to layer on top. There never seems to be a dominant instrument but there are some fine moments of soloing. Everyone will have a different favourite track but I think mine is the title track.
IQ have a fantastic album on their hands. Lets hope it gets the sales it deserves.
Now where did I put that sun cream?