IQ: The Wake LP. Original 1st press Sahara Records 1985 mint condition. Top Prog Rock concept album. Marillion, Pendragon. Check samples


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GENRE Pop/Rock
Blues STYLES: Neo-Prog, Prog-Rock

When considering the “strict” period of neo-prog (i.e., the 1980s), The Wake is definitely a classic. Together with Marillions first LPs, it helped define what neo-progressive was and generated dozens of sound-alike albums by as many bands in the U.K. and worldwide. This LP remains the bands true classic, a must-have for anyone remotely interested in progressive rock from the 1980s. The third album by the band, it took a more pop approach than Tales From the Lush Attic; there was no 20-minute epic track and songs were rather simple in terms of structure. “The Thousand Days,” the title track, and “Corners” had single potential, especially the first of these, a stirring rock number. With its electronic drum track and medium-tempo feel, “Corners” is the weakest track of the set. These shorter songs are balanced out by strong longer tracks like “The Magic Roundabout,” “Headlong,” and mostly “Widows Peak.” On the latter two, IQ gets very close to Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, mostly thanks to Peter Nicholls’ theatrical and emotional vocals. The rest of the band still feels “young” somehow.

IQ   The Wake
Label: Sahara Records SAH 136
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Released : May 1985
Genre: Rock
Style: Prog Rock
A1 Outer Limits 8:29
A2 The Wake 3:50
A3 The Magic Roundabout 6:33
A4 Corners 6:22

B1 Widows Peak 9:10
B2 The Thousand Days 4:00
B3 Headlong 7:27

Bass, Bass [Bass Pedals] Tim Esau
Drums, Percussion Paul Cook
Guitar, Acoustic Guitar Mike Holmes*
Keyboards, Flute, Backing Vocals Martin Orford
Vocals, Tambourine Peter Nicholls

The Wake is the third studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band IQ and was released in 1985. It entered the UK album chart on 22 June 1985, one week before Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood album. Reviewed in Kerrang! magazine, both albums were equally praised. It is the only album by IQ to enter the UK album chart, spending one week at 72.
An associated single release, “Barbell is In”, was a “white reggae” song along the lines of Led Zeppelins “D’yer Mak’er”. The band were reportedly amused when the single reached no. 7 in the British heavy metal chart.
The cover art is by lead singer Peter Nicholls. Most of the characters in the image are original, but the central character is based on Rae Dawn Chong wearing clay face (and body) paint as Ika in the film Quest for Fire (1981). However, according to Nicholls, many of the bands fans misinterpreted this as a self-portrait, since he wore extensive stage makeup at the time.
In what is thought to be the earliest photograph ever taken of the band Radiohead, a poster of The Wake is clearly shown on the wall behind Thom Yorke. The photograph was taken at Abingdon School.

5 stars Well this is one of 2 IQ albums that deserve the 5 star rating.A dark almost overwhelming record that grabs you by the throat and just won’t let go.’The Magic Roundabout’ has absolutely nothing to do with Dougal and chums I can assure you ,while ‘Widows Peak’ has one of the most startling intros to any piece of music I’ve heard.Paul Cook is awesome on the skins here.The star of the show undoubtedly though is Pete Nicholls who lends an intensity to the songs that is very rare in music.This is a special record.

4 stars 4.5 stars. A record about death but it’s not as dark and moody as one would think. This is without a doubt one of IQ’s best albums. It’s also the first IQ record I ever listened to. It’s pretty cool that the theme in the first song “Outer Limits” can be heard in the final song “Headlong”. Four of the seven songs have mellotron provided by Mr.Orford, who also supplies us with moog, synths, flute and keyboards. “Outer Limits” begins with an ominous bass line coupled with synths until we hear the amazing vocals of Peter Nicholls. A steady beat with lots of mellotron follows. I really like the synths 3 1/2 minutes in. Nice guitar after 6 1/2 minute too. “The Wake” has some terrific drums and keyboards, along with mellotron and some splendid guitar.The intro is so powerful. Check out the guitar after 2 minutes.This song blends into “The Magic Roundabout” which opens with a powerful atmosphere and lots of synths. It kicks in before 2 minutes. It settles 3 minutes in, it’s such a beautiful section as Peter comes in vocally. I also like when we get a calm 6 1/2 minutes in and the gorgeous guitar that follows. “Corners” opens with percussion and drums as synths then reserved vocals come into this laid back tune.

“Widow’s Peak” has lots of time changes, and I just love the sound of this song. It opens with some atmosphere before kicking in around 1 1/2 minutes with mellotron. When the vocals come in i’m smiling. God bless Peter Nicholls ! I really like when it settles 2 1/2 minutes in. Great section ! It kicks back in with guitar leading the way. Paul’s beating the hell out of his drumkit here. Another calm 4 1/2 minutes in before kicking back in around 6 minutes with vocals. Beautiful guitar solo 8 minutes in. What a song ! “Thousand Days” might be my favourite. It’s so moving for me, just an uplifting and emotional track really. It has a spacey ending. “Headlong” features fragile vocals and mellotron comes in before a minute. It starts to build after 2 minutes. Incredible ! It settles again 3 1/2 minutes in then a minute later we get that familiar and uplifting melody.                                     This is one of my favourite IQ records and I highly recommend it.

5 stars To me, this album and Twelfth Night’s “Fact and Fiction” are the ultimate masterpiece in the 80s era of the British neo-prog wave. Both albums comprise the frontal energetic vibe of the time’s rock scene and the high standards (musically and dramatically) of vintage symphonic prog, with special regards to the influences of Gabriel-era Genesis, Camel, and as a plus, UK. The latter point of reference can be clearly noticed in Ordford’ keyboard input for most of the darkest passages in the album. Although… this album as a whole keeps a consistent dark mood, which is logical considering the integral concept: a man passes away, takes a bitter look at what used to be his earthly life, indulges himself in doubt, regret and fear before taking the definitive step into the world of the dead. So, the drama is not in the moment of death or the arrival at Heaven, but in the sense of confusion that drowns the dead man’s soul in the meantime. Well, the instrumentation and the musical ideas fit Nicholls’ lyrical adventures and ever growing singing energy quite well. To be more specific – the guitar passages and the rhythm section bear a harder edge than on the IQ’s debut album, while the keyboard department finds the mellotron, string ensemble and organ sounds assuming a sort of leading role, in this way, creating horror movie ambiences in lots of places. The intro section of ‘Outer Limits’ kicks off the album in the vein of UK’s anthem ‘In the Dead of Night’, until things get settled in a Genesis-meets- punk atmosphere, very early IQ, indeed. After the final sequences of bass, drum and agonizing breaths, the powerful namesake track gets in and sets a very ballsy mood: the band flirts with heavy metal on this one. Nicholls’ singing almost effortlessly equals the guitar aggression: one of his most amazing performances during the early 80s. ‘The Magic Roundabout’ returns to the epic essence of the opening song, while bearing a more melancholic spirit: the keyboard orchestrations and the fretless bass guitar are almost surreal. Not as epic but prolonging with the dreamy mood, ‘Corners’ shifts things to bring a Peter Gabriel kind of thing with its electronic-ethnic structure, based on a mixture of white reggae, slight Arabic textures and languid techno-pop. I love this song for what it is – a nice, refreshing interlude between two epics. The following long track is one of my fave IQ songs ever: from the eerie prologue to the brief guitar flourishes at the end, everything in between makes ‘Widow’s Peak’ a definite epitome of the band’s most bombastic side, equalling the emotional engagement of track 3 and surpassing the clever complexity of track 1. ‘The Thousand Days’, on the other hand, has a more straightforward appeal: perhaps the best song The Cure has never done? The floating synth layers that fill the aforesaid song’s aftermath serves as an adequate prelude to the final track ‘Headlong’. Although bearing a gloomy mood similar to the other epics, the closing section sets a playful Celtic-based motif, in this way protraying the optimistic redemption of the soul that comes to terms with its ultimate fate. “The Wake” is a defining masterpiece of 80s prog.

5 stars With their second effort,IQ try to create a more personal style of neo progressive music.The keyboard lines of Martin Orford play a leading role in their music,the guitar lines are measured and simply excellent and the voice of Pete Nicholls remains a trademark of the band.All in all,what they managed to do,is to create another historical album of prog rock.”Headlong” is in my top 10 list of the best songs in prog ever.A ”BUY OR DIE” album!!!!!PROG4EVER!

5 stars IQ produced two stunning albums during the early part of the 1980’s, with 1983’s ‘Tales From The Lush Attic’ followed by this monster slice of neo-prog two years later. And, 30 years down the line, IQ have, despite a series of fine albums, yet to produce anything that can compare. ‘Tales From The Lush Attic’ was, according to vocalist Pete Nicholls, rush-recorded in the space of around four days, which is absolutely staggering considering the complex, Genesis-inspired music on show. ‘The Wake’, which was released in 1985, was the result of a slightly longer session, and found this five-piece in truly inspired form, creating an enduring neo-prog odyssey that stands head-and-shoulders above anything recorded by IQ’s friendly genre rivals Marillion, Pendragon, Twelfth Night or Abel Ganz and, is still to this day, considered a milestone of 1980’s progressive rock. The extra time in the recording studio obviously galvanised the group, and with the commercial success of Marillion’s ‘Childhood’s End’ album fresh in the mind, IQ obviousy decided to add a layer of pop sheen to proceedings, recording a couple of genuinely-catchy prog-pop singles that fill out the mid-section of ‘The Wake’ nicely. However, despite this nod towards the mainstream, IQ were still firmly rooted in the prog camp. ‘The Wake’ is filled with complex keyboard riffs, glistening guitar solo’s and intricate sounds that bely the group’s low-budget recording conditions. Every single song is a winner, with the band flitting impressively between epic song-suites and beautifully-judged ballads with expert aplomb and never, ever reverting to simple cliche or cloning; this is a band who have a sound very much of their own. The history books and pop charts will show that the kings of 1980’s prog were, sale-wise, Marillion. However, despite their lack of genuine commercial success, IQ’s first two albums are, simply put, two of the finest prog rock albums ever recorded. They have recorded many albums since, including the mammoth two-disc concept album ‘Subterranea’ and their excellent 2009 release ‘Frequency’, but none has come close to the mind-blowing creativity on offer here. In a word, superb.

5 stars IQ’s first masterpiece is The Wake, a concept album about a protagonist undergoing phantasmagoric experiences as he comes to terms with the fact that he’s died and learns to let go of his earthly connections as he passes to an uncertain fate. Distilling the Genesis- influenced approach of Tales From the Lush Attic into tighter, more carefully composed tracks and showing an adept ability to include a few crowd-pleasing mainstream rock elements into their sound without compromising the emotional and conceptual integrity of the piece (as on The Thousand Days), the album shows a far greater diversity of sound and mood than its predecessor, with songs ranging from the foreboding Outer Limits to the relaxing Corners (one of the few neo-prog tracks I’m aware of which includes an indo-prog influence thanks to the inclusion of sitar) to the uplifting, soaring Thousand Days and Headlong.

As far as the band’s performances go, the interplay of Mike Holmes’ guitar and Martin Orford’s synths has rarely been equalled, whilst Peter Nicholls’ dramatic, theatrical vocal delivery is excellent on this album. He left the band after this one to pursue his Niadem’s Ghost sabbatical, and I’d go so far as to say that even if he’d never returned he’d still have a strong claim to being IQ’s best vocallist based on his work here. Indeed, if IQ had vanished into obscurity or sold out utterly after this point they’d still have a warm reputation in neo-prog circles thanks to this classic; luckily for us, they had more classics up their sleeve.

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Weight 0.25 kg


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