There are many mysteries in this world. Not least how IQ didn’t achieve breakout success in the 80s. Perhaps, at last, with the release of 2014’s extraordinary The Road Of Bones, their brilliance is being properly appreciated.
Certainly, this live show – a record of their annual Christmas Bash – captures that album’s brooding strengths, as well as acting as a reminder of IQ’s considerable virtues: Peter Nicholls’ undiminished voice, Mike Holmes’ aggressive and transcendent guitar and a rhythm section tighter than a professional miser. Beginning with the famous theme from Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije suite beneath a film of comedy mugshots of the band, Scrape Across The Sky covers every era of the band (including shattering versions of Awake and Nervous and The Seventh House). Apart from a well-deployed guitar-cam, don’t expect too many tricks in the production; rather sit back and enjoy the clean 5.1 sound and Nicholls’ natural theatricality. The limits of the film mean we get less of the famous IQ stage projections than we want. But never fear: the extras include all of them, set to the music. Indeed, there’s three hours of extras. If you weren’t a fan before, this is a great introduction to IQ’s brilliance.