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IQ: Ever

On its 20-plus birthday, a classic album takes its vinyl bow.

Since its release in 1993, this classic IQ album has never been available on vinyl – an oversight corrected with this very attractively-packaged double LP. Previously the band had made two albums with a line-up featuring Paul Menel on vocals. Fans and critics were split, with many feeling that they had strayed into less ambitious, more (gasp!) commercial territory.

So IQ had much to prove here and Ever opener The Darkest Hour kicks hard, with Martin Orford’s keyboards and Mike Holmes’ guitar punctuating the driving, odd-time riffing. Original vocalist Peter Nicholls was now back in the fold, and his distinctive voice rarely sounded better.

Mini-epic Further Away, Afterglow-alike closer Came Down, and the instrumental sections of the anthemic Leap of Faith suggest late-70s era Genesis. But look closely and Ever is darker and harder-edged than the work of Collins and co.

Many IQ fans will tell you it’s their best work, successfully reflecting the legacy of the band as the neo-prog progenitors they undoubtedly were. Sounding great on vinyl, Ever crucially demonstrated that IQ could reengage with its progressive roots, yet was ready to move into a new phase of music making.