IQ - The Seventh House


Year of Release: 2001
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEPCD 1028
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:51:00

The new IQ album sports yet another IQ logo. So the tradition continues. In fact The Seventh House is the first true new album since Ever from 1993, if we don't count the concept album Subterranea which is different than a "normal" album. Ever to me was the best album I'd heard in a long time so I was anxious to hear its successor. I had to wait until now because after Ever my IQ collection grew with Forever Live, Seven Stories Into Ninety Eight, Subterranea, The Lost Attic and Subterranea: The Concert which, again apart from the concept, didn't really sport any new material at all.

IQ today sounds more confident than they have ever sounded before. Since Ever, the band has led a second life with a firm line-up as a result and every single member feeling at ease within the IQ concept. "The Wrong Side Of Weird" opens with some great synth playing by Martin [Orford] before the fierce bass sound of John Jowitt introduces a powerful rhythm, on top of which the unique voice of [Peter] Nicholls finds its way. Referring back to Ever which opens with "The Darkest Hour," "The Wrong Side Of Weird" can be seen in a similar vein: touching those taste-buds for more, much more! The song itself contains different atmospheres that reflect perfectly the nature of the song (and all of the album for that matter) which deals with all aspects of relationships. There's a great middle section which has Martin bend over his piano to roll out a musical carpet on top of which Nicholls can playfully balance his voice. But then it's down to eerie guitar chords and matching basslines with drummer Paul Cook adding agressive touches: the relationship rears it's ugly head one more time. Towards the end, both Jowitt and Holmes blend together to steer the song towards a first climax.

Glorious strings open "Erosion," which give way to Peter's fragile vocals. There are elements in this song which make you wonder where you've heard it before as it's so typical IQ all over, a classic from the moment you hear it. Michael Holmes did a remarkable job productionwise as you hear every little detail crystal clear. On one side you have the open arrangement, and once guitars and rhythm take over, the sounds are all over the place without being over-arranged one single second. The title track is the longest epic on this album and has Holmes fingerpicking his acoustic guitar to lay the foundation. It's once again Orford's piano which introduces a change in style, enabling him to throw in a superb dark sounding synth solo. Towards the end, mellotron sounds accompany the guitar towards a well deserved finale. "Zero Hour" is a superb, laidback kind of song which even introduces flamenco-like acoustic guitar playing by Mike, apart from the inclusion of yet another wonderful sax solo from the realms of Tony Wright. Orford also repeats Nicholls' chorus from the song "Erosion" on his synth which certainly is a very original approach.

Once again Martin's keyboards sound very promising in the opening section of "Shooting Angels," but then suddenly the rest of the band introduces a very commercial sounding, almost clinical pattern. When the backing vocals sing "angels" I can't help think that this is clear cut MTV nosh. Might be a good live favourite as it will certainly move those aching limbs of the enthusiastic crowd ! The album closes with "Guiding Light" built by following the patented recipe of Martin's piano and strings backing a very melodic vocal line by Peter. It's when Martin introduces some industrial sounding synth that the rest of the band steps in, adding a repetitive nature with Mike's guitar stepping outside the mould. A bit of touch and go this song as it sounds like it's the result of several different pieces of music glued together to make up a whole resulting in the least coherent of the lot.

The Seventh House is the best album one could expect after hearing Ever because Ever will "never" be done any better, as high as their IQ might become. The six new songs definately put IQ firmly on the neo-prog map, a world which fits them as a glove, a glove which firmly holds the key ... to the seventh house!


Tracklisting:
The Wrong Side Of Weird (12:24) / Erosion (5:44) / The Seventh House (14:23) / Zero Hour (6:58) / Shooting Angels (7:24) / Guiding Light (9:58)

Musicians:
Paul Cook - drums, percussion
Michael Holmes - guitars, guitar synthesizer, keyboards
John Jowitt - bass guitar, backing vocals
Peter Nicholls - all vocals
Martin Orford - keyboards, backing vocals

Guest:

Tony Wright - saxophone

Discography:
Tales From The Lush Attic (1983)
The Wake (1985)
Nine In A Pond Is Here (1985)
Living Proof (1986)
Nomzamo (1987)
Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989)
J'ai Pollette D'arnu (1991)
Ever (1994)
Forever Live (1996)
Subterranea (1997)
Seven Stories Into 98 (1998)
The Lost Attic (1998)
Subterranea: The Concert (2000)
The Seventh House (2001)
The Archive Collection - IQ20 (2003)
Dark Matter (2004)
Frequency Tour CD 1 (2008)
Frequency Tour CD 2 (2008)
Frequency (2009)
The Wake: Live At De Boerderij (2010)
The Wake (Deluxe Edition) (2010)
Re:Mixed (2011)
The Archive Collection - IQ30 (2012)
Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix (2013)
The Road Of Bones (2014)
Live On The Road Of Bones (2016)

Subterranea: The Concert Video (VHS) (2000)
Subterranea: The Concert DVD (DVD) (2002)
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show (DVD) (2004)
Live From London (DVD) (2005)
Stage (DVD) (2006)
Forever Live (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 11th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.iq-hq.co.uk
Hits: 843
Language: english

  

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