Iq - Nomzamo

IQ – Nomzamo

88 / 100

As the story goes the freshly-minted IQ went into the studio for ‘Nomzamo’ with loads of ideas but were woefully unprepared for a large record company wanting hit singles.

Written by: Eric

ALBUM: Nomzamo
LABEL: Vertigo
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Paul Menel – vocals * Mike Holmes – electric, acoustic guitars, guitar synthesizer * Tim Esau – bass, bass pedals, rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Paul Cook – drums * Martin Orford – keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians: Ray Carless – sax * Micky Groome – backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 No Love Lost * 02 Promises (As The Years Go By) * 03 Nomzamo * 04 Still Life * 05 Passing Strangers * 06 Human Nature * 07 Screaming * 08 Common Ground



The departure of IQ frontman Peter Nicholls from one of the most important bands of the NWOBPR movement didn’t exactly garner the same frenzied media coverage as Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis several years earlier. But for many fans it was a significant loss and the end of an era. Naturally, life goes on and the band dusted themselves off, bandaged their wounds, scored a major label contract with new boy Paul Menel and released two albums, sadly both commercial disappointments.

The Songs

As the story goes the freshly-minted IQ went into the studio for ‘Nomzamo’ with loads of ideas but were woefully unprepared for a large record company wanting hit singles and in hindsight was either extremely naive or just plain foolish in light of what was happening to prog bands at the time, compounded by the runaway success of Marillion‘s ‘Kayleigh’.

Now in my melodic progressive rock mindset, ‘Nomzamo’ is a fine record and as good as anything IQ has put out including their previous two Nicholls fronted classics ‘Tales From The Lush Attic’ and ‘The Wake’.

The album was named after a township in South Africa when the evils of apartheid in that country was all the political rage among music industry movers and shakers. ‘No Love Lost’ as well as the excellent ‘Promises (As The Years Go By)’ set the album’s commercial tone, the latter’s guitar solo/bridge shamefully ripped from Robert Plant‘s ‘Big Log’ but with its superior hooks, all is forgiven.

The catchy ‘Passing Strangers’ which was picked as the album’s first single is about as power pop as a prog band can get while the whimsical ‘Human Nature’ gets high marks for its sheer inventiveness. ‘Common Ground’ brings the record to a close with a pastoral Genesis inspired intro matched with gorgeous vocal arrangements before evolving into a Queen-like guitar crescendo that even Brian May would be proud of.

In Summary

1989’s excellent follow-up ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably?’ veered even deeper into AOR territory as their prog fan base disintegrated and with a serious lack of sales on both sides of the pond, Vertigo cut its losses and IQ were temporarily sidelined until 1993’s critically acclaimed ‘Ever’ album with Peter Nicholls back in the frontman position. In the years since Paul Menel has quietly released a brace of excellent CD’s on his own and are worth checking out if you can track them down.

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