Tales from the Lush Attic

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As progressive rock entered its revival stage in the early '80s, IQ was right in the middle of it. Without any emphasis on one particular instrument, Tales From the Lush Attic is an album that offers a balanced portion of hurried guitar and enveloping keyboards. Specks of prog-era Genesis glisten with every note sung by lead singer Peter Nicholls, who sounds eerily like Peter Gabriel. Even the structure of some of the songs resemble bits of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but there's an air to this album that gathers attention, especially on the synth-ridden passages. Quick interchanges of 12-string guitar and Mellotron create an instrumental seesaw effect, peaking in the longer tracks like the 20-minute "Last Human Gateway" or "The Enemy Smacks." Changes of tempo sneak up throughout the whole of the album, either head manned by dominant keyboard staccatos or winding electric string solos. The flow is energetic, never lagging, and the songs allot enough time to focus on what is being played. The layered synth pieces don't fully overlap Mike Holmes' guitar playing, so that the music can be appreciated by way of isolation. IQ may have missed progressive rock's glory days, but they hold their own on this release from early in their career.

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