There is no doubt that IQ was, together with Marillion and Pendragon, the three definitive points of difference for the maintenance of progressive rock in the sad and gray 80´s. The same as Pendragon (unfortunately we cannot say the same of Marillion), IQ have been able to develop their own and recognizable style inside the genre, which raises them into the status of one of the most important bands in these last 20 years. Proof of this statement is albums as basic as "Ever", "The Wake" or "Subterranea". Until the release of their next studio CD we have an appetizer thanks to "The lost attic", a CD that gathers rarities, alternative versions, etc. of their extensive career. As you will imagine, the chosen songs embrace all the stages of their career, from the most glorious moments to the most commercial.
Not to extend too much my analysis of the 15 topics of the album, these could be divided into the following categories:
- Tracks for fans of progressive rock:
In this category, I include those songs of "general interest" such as "The universal scam" or "Eyes of the blind", both destined for "Subterranea", but finally discarded for diverse reasons; a studio version of the central part of "The last human gateway", without a doubts the best thing of the album; the hymnal and sensitive "Hollow afternoon", in a 1999 version of a song that was firstly released as a limited single in 1984; "Apathetic and here, I...", a Twelfth Night song that IQ recorded for the tribute to Geoff Mann "Mannersism", and, of course, "Awake and nervous", "Just changing hands" and "Widows peak", the three topics that close the CD closes and that were recorded alive for the BBC in 1984 with a remarkable sound quality.
- Tracks for fans of IQ:
Here I include those topics that, in spite of having certain quality, will only be of real interest for the fans. This is the case of "Winterfell" -Simon and Garfunkel find IQ; the mentioned "Hollow afternoon" in its original version and with a worse sound; "N.T.O.C. (resistance)", a hard song from the time of "Are you sitting..."; "Fascination", of the same period but with much more quality; and the beautiful traditional Irish song "The bold grenadier".
- Tracks for those "real" fans
Games, blinks and jokes of IQ that will only satisfy the most adept, the most curious or the more sadomasochist, as "Barbel is in (12 lizard mix)" a painful pseudo-disco-reggae song that reminds me from Fischer Z, and please, Fischer Z. forgives me. Another damaging sample is "My legs", kind of a comedy (without music) with many voices but with any grace.
Unfortunately, bands like IQ or Pendragon have created a style in what has been called Neoprogressive, which has made bands flourish everywhere attempting to copy or clone (choose what you prefer) these classic bands of the 80´s. Many will attempt it but IQ are unique and they know it. For the moment, until the release of their next studio album the fans of the band (IQ treats fans very well) will be happy with this curiosity. A work that given its concept, I won't recommend to those new to the band (in their case I remit to the first paragraph and their more brilliant albums), but only to fans of IQ and collectors in general.