IQ -
Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix 30th Anniversary Collector´s Edition

(CD/DVD 2013, 65:14/258:02, Giant Electric Pea GEPCDDVD2002)

The tracks:
CD: 2013 remix
  1- The Last Human Gateway(20:21)
  2- Through the Corridors (Oh! Shit Me)(2:39)
  3- Awake and Nervous(7:57)
  4- My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin'
        Man All Night Long
  5- The Enemy Smacks(14:07)
  Bonus tracks:
  6- Wintertell [2012 recording](3:07)
  7- The Last Human Gateway
        [end section, alternative vocals]
  8- Just Changing Hands [unfinished demo](5:39)
  9- Dans Le Parc Du Château Noir [unfinished demo](6:45)
DVD: (full listing at end of this page)
- Video: Live at De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland
         (23rd October, 2011)
- MP3 files: Tales from the Lush Attic
        (original mix: August 1983)
- MP3 files: Seven Stories Into Eight
        (original cassette album)
- MP3 files: Further listening

Website        Giant Electric Pea Records

In 2010 the well-known British progressive rock band IQ re-released The Wake: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (see review). In that review I wrote that one of my brothers bought Tales From The Lush Attic, a debut album recorded by an unknown prog rock band called IQ in 1983. I also wrote that I instantly loved that album, because it reminded me of Genesis with Peter Gabriel. Elements of songs like The Knife were clearly present. In July 2011 I asked guitarist Mike Holmes if we could expect more anniversary editions of old IQ-records in the future. He told me that they intended to do something for the 30th anniversary of Tales From The Lush Attic. He got hold of the original 24-track master and he would like to spend time for finally making a decent mix. At the time he didn't know whether it would become another four-disc set like the anniversary edition of The Wake. However, he certainly wished to present Tales... as he thought it should have been.

Well, I discovered that Holmes was right after I received a copy of Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition to review. This 30th anniversary edition of the band's debut is a double disc hard covered book containing 32 pages with lots of extras. It includes a CD and a DVD. The CD features the 2013 remix version of Tales... remixed by Mike Holmes and engineered by Rob Aubrey. All the individual instruments can be heard much clearer than on the original mix of 1983. Especially the Mellotron parts by Martin Orford sound better and warmer and his fine playing on the synthesizers sound brighter than before. In the guitar parts performed by Mike Holmes you'll hear much more details. Unlike the original record Peter Nicholls sounds crisp and clear. All the extra sounds that were included to give the music some additional effects can be heard more in the forefront of the final mix. This can be heard, for instance, in the intro to the opening piece The Last Human Gateway, or in the children's voices on Through the Corridors (Oh! Shit Me).

I think the original five songs of this album don't need an introduction for devotees of prog rock since they're familiar with these pieces or even own a copy of the album. However, for the four included bonus tracks an introduction should be in place. Wintertell is a new recording of an old piece re-recorded in 2012. It's a kind of acoustic ballad. Next is the final section of The Last Human Gateway with alternative vocals followed by unfinished demos of Just Changing Hands and Dans Le Parc Du Château Noir. All these bonus tracks are worth listening to and bring the total playing time to 65 minutes.

If you like to hear more material from the band's early days you should check out the DVD. It's filled with additional material that most people have never heard before. A host of MP3 files, original mixes, audio commentary and previously unreleased rehearsal and demo material. The list is just too long to mention; look at the track list for details. The original mix of the album has been included as well. I think you'll love it as much as I do! For most fans the video section is the most interesting part since it includes a large part of a concert which the current line-up performed at Cultuurcentrum Boerderij in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. The footage was recorded on October 23, 2011 and was part of The Official IQ30 European Weekend Celebration tour (see review). The second day of this event had already been released on the double CD IQ30 De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland, 23 October 2011 (see review). This album contained five tracks from Tales..., namely The Last Human Gateway, Through The Corridors (Oh! Shit Me), Awake And Nervous together with About Lake Five and The Enemy Smacks. On this release you can actually see and hear how those songs were performed by about the same line-up, including drummer Paul Cook and bassist Tim Esau, who recorded the original versions. Only this time Neil Durant played the keyboards instead of  Martin Orford.

The footage on this DVD is really stunning, something you might expect from a band as IQ. You just have to watch the spectacular version of The Enemy Smacks in particular. Here Mr. Nicholls is playing a strong role as a drug addict. This can be seen on stage from different angles. Moreover, this footage contains fine close-ups that I enjoyed a lot. I just like to see what's going on during a concert in detail! This release is the best one that ever appeared of IQ's debut. People who have another copy of this album should throw it away and replace it by this excellent version. Thumbs up to all the people who made this awesome release possible! It's also available in a vinyl limited edition of 180 gram, gatefold sleeve, 500 pieces in black and 500 in clear vinyl.
I would like to end with something Mike Holmes said about his debut with IQ: “It was great to finally give this album the mix it deserved. I've spent years avoiding the studio release of Tales..., just because I knew it could be so much better.” Well Mike was right and therefore this masterpiece deserves the highest possible rating of five stars!

***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Where to buy?

The DVD tracks:
Live at De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland (23rd October, 2011)
  The Last Human Gateway(21:26)
  Through the Corridors (Oh! Shit Me)(2:53)
  About Lake Five / Awake and Nervous(12:11)
  The Enemy Smacks(15:56)
  Photo Gallery (contemporary photos and artwork)(4:32)
  DIY Mix of 'Through The Corridors' : multi-track audio files and mixing software
MP3 files:
Tales from the Lush Attic (original mix: August 1983):
  The Last Human Gateway(20:00)
  Through the Corridors (Oh! Shit Me)(2:37)
  Awake And Nervous(7:46)
  My Baby Treats Me Right 'Cos I'm A Hard Lovin' Man All Night Long(1:46)
  The Enemy Smacks(13:52)
Seven Stories Into Eight (original cassette album):
  Capital Letters (In Surgical Spirit Land)(3:46)
  About Lake Five(5:02)
  Intelligence Quotient(6:56)
  For Christ's Sake(5:05)
  Barbell Is In(5:31)
  For The Taking(4:17)
  It All Stops Here(6:58)
  Tales from the Lush Attic - audio commentary by Peter and Mike(47:17)
Further listening (MP3):
  The Enemy Smacks [first attempts: November 1982](14:59)
  The Last Human Gateway [writing session: February 1983](2:40)
  Just Changing Hands [instrumental demo: February 1983](6:26)
  Just Changing Hands [rehearsal: 11th February, 1983](5:47)
  Wintertell [demo: July 1983](3:02)
  The Last Human Gateway [complete version - rehearsal: 27th July, 1983](19:57)
   Untitled version 1 [rehearsal: August 1983](1:32)
  Untitled version 2 [rehearsal: August 1983](0:47)
  Just Changing Hands [Cava demo: 1984](5:14)
  The Last Human Gateway [middle section: 1992 recording](4:02)

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013