With the departure of Martin Orford many might have been concerned with the choice of Mark Westworth as a replacement, I know, I was. I felt his contribution in DARWINS RADIO was entirely different to what IQ would require. I was wrong. it appears he has fitted in seamlessly. The IQ sound is as it was.
The first CD opens with a studio version of Frequency, we are told this is an alternative mix, is excellent, Jowitt has a stomping bass line to start with, however this theme soon tones down for the main song only returning at the close. Already Gone, recorded as part of the Frequency sessions though it is not too appear on the album is also great track, demonstrating Westworths (or is it Orford?) lush keyboards, it climaxes with an excellent guitar solo. A pity it won't be included. Lost In Paradise, is a alternate version of The Darkest Hour, done for the tsunami project, not very exciting but of interest for die hard IQ fans. Crazy Horses, a live version of THE OSMONDS track, again of interest to die hard fans. Corners is a demo from The Wake period (1985). Suffragette City, a live version of the DAVID BOWIE track. Crashed And Burned is a live version of Stronger Than Friction, which will appear on the new album, recorded apparently in December 2007, presumably with Martin Orford on the keys.
The second CD opens with The Province, this version is a studio outtake, an interesting insight, it begins with quite monotonously, only with the arrival of the lush keys and the rapid military style drumming does the track come to life, the whole of this outtake does not appear in the final version. The next track, One Fatal Mistake, is to be released on the new album, albeit shorter, this is an extended version, quite a gentle track, then the extended end section kicks in, think GENESIS and Afterglow and you wont be far off. Perhaps this is why this extension won't appear on the album. However despite its obvious Afterglow sound it is a track I've played repeatedly. The next three tracks follow the first CD with fans only interest, the first is a reworking of Subterannea entitled Chemical Rain for the Hurricane Katrina benefit album. Jet (WINGS) gets the live treatment. Finally a demo from The Wake period - Outer Limits. The album finishes with a live version of Frequency, if the first (studio) version was alternate then this too must be the alternate version.
Overall a very interesting and pleasing selection, the new material certainly whets the appetite, roll on the release of the Frequency album; however, how much input Martin Orford had on this album remains to be seen with any subsequent releases. I think it is fair to award 4 stars for this, though any IQ fan will obviously be more inclined to consider this as essential.