In October 1982, before the release of IQ's first LP Tales from the Lush Attic, the band released a homemade cassette entitled Seven Stories Into Eight, the production of which was discontinued in 1984. Fans kept on pressuring the band to give it a proper release, and in 1998 efforts were made for a CD reissue. But the master tapes were in a severe state of degradation and the only way to salvage the album was to make a digital transfer of an original cassette. IQ members didn't want to release this poor-sounding copy on its own, so they booked five studio days to re-record the whole album, which became Seven Stories Into 98 (packaged with a second CD containing the original album, at least for the first pressing). Excellent sound quality, much better musicianship, and surprising new arrangements make up for the certain lack of direction this first album inevitably suffered. The Brand X-esque fusion piece "Capital Letters (In Surgical Spirit Land)" will convince anyone that IQ had the potential (both in 1982 and in 1998) to take another direction. The new versions of "Intelligence Quotient" and "It All Stops Here" obscenely nail the 1986 re-recordings that were done with Paul Menel on vocals. These two truly are classic IQ tracks. "Barbell Is In" has completely lost its reggae feel and is transformed into a Peter Gabriel-like song. To the eight original songs, IQ added "Eloko Bella Neechi," an atmospheric piece from the band's early days that was never recorded before. If Seven Stories Into Eight, due to its limitations in terms of sound and musicianship, can only interest the die-hard fan, Seven Stories Into 98 is worthy of the casual listener's attention.
AllMusic Review by François Couture