Are You Sitting Comfortably? is the second album without former vocalist Peter Nicholls, who did return for 1994's Ever. Paul Menel takes over the singing here, and while his efforts are average sounding, the progressive aspect of IQ remains to be heard throughout this release. The acute depth of the Mellotron or the intertwined guitar work from past albums like Tales From the Lush Attic or Seven Stories Into Eight are nowhere to be found on these nine tunes. Instead, more of a rock/avant-garde vapor steams up slowly as the songs go by, with nothing of grandeur developing on any track. The songs have been toned down to half speed and any keyboard work that arises is draggy and slim. "Falling Apart at the Seams" deals out the best combination of guitar and synthesizer and "Sold on You" imitates Marillion both musically and lyrically. Menel lacks the duration or the pizzazz of Nicholls, and while vocals may be secondary in progressive rock, it is evident that with IQ the singer helped to elevate the surrounding instruments. While Are You Sitting Comfortably? isn't a total loss, the intense progressive sound that was apparent in their earlier work fails to surface here.
Are You Sitting Comfortably? Review
by Mike DeGagne