(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Peter Nicholls-Lead and Backing Vocals
Martin Orford-Keyboards and Synthesizers
Tim Esau-Bass, Fretless Bass and Bass Pedals
Paul Cook-Drums and Percussion
1983's Tales From The Lush Attic, was the first true official album release by IQ. First output by the band was the cassette only Seven Stories Into Eight, which originally was deleted, and then redone as Seven Stories Into 98 with extra songs included.
The difference between the band's EP and first album is enormous, like their idols Genesis, Tales From The Lush Attic although the band was still working on honing their chops, this album still a wonderful example of a band working hard at perfecting their craft. A cross between the majesty of Genesis's Foxtrot and the lyrical subject diversity of A Trick Of The Tail, Tales From The Lush Attic, originally a five song album, augmented with bonus track, "Just Changing Hands", is an album based on cryptic tales whom subjects are anything but "lush".
The first song, and IQ's early period anthem, "The Last Human Gateway" is a 19:57 minute tour-de force, which is everyone who is sane worst nightmare, meaning, how would you feeling if you all of a suddenly found out that you survived the holocaust and were the last person alive? The next song, "Through The Corridors" is a frenzied affair about child abuse, one of the two shorter songs on the disc.
Track three, the magnificent "Awake And Nervous", is about waking up in a cold sweat form a horrible nightmare. The shortest track on the disc is next, Martin's piano solo "My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard-Lovin Man All Night Long" (But ridiculously titled) on first listen, sound like the piano entry to "The Carpet Crawlers", segues into the last track and opus, "The Enemy Smacks".
"The Enemy Smacks" is my favorite song on the album, lyrically about an inebriated drug addict that while riding a horse hears voices calling out his name. The bonus track, b-side to an obscure track form the first EP, "Just Changing Hands" about spousal abuse, fits in with the nightmarish lyrical theme of Tales From, but despite its nature the song for patient ears, ends with a surprise.
An unbelievable art-rock album, despite its reference to Genesis and Camel, Tales From The Lush Attic belies many of the albums made in its wake (no pun intended) as for the band members would only get better at their perspective instruments and Peter Nicholls would grow not only as first rate lyricist, but on further releases, would forge his own singing voice.