A friend on Facebook reminded me of the reviews I had written for John Irvine's albums. Next Stop (2013, see review) and Wait And See (2015, see review) still belong to my favourites in their style and I was thinking that is was about time John released another album.
Co-incident or not, two weeks later our main editor handed me the latest effort of The John Irvine Band, with the intriguing title Metaphysical Attractions.
Metaphysical Attractions sees a brand new line up, with John playing guitar, bass and keyboards, while the drum duties are in the capable in the hands of Rich Kass. In addition, we welcome Gwen Kelso on flute and Rob Ironside on saxophone. Metaphysical Attractions consists of eight stunning compositions, from which the two part title track; Metaphysical Attractions I and II are short parts that last no longer than one and a half minute, the other compositions clock from five to over eight minutes each. The opener Metaphysical Attractions I, is a short intro, already revealing the smooth and delicate guitar sound of John Irvine. Some Bright Sparks seamlessly follows the intro and shows the tight teamwork of Rich and John. It has been a while since I was so impressed by a jazz rock/fusion album. I think all the elements perfectly fit together; steady but still adventurous drums either accompanies a dedicated guitar, or supports the fine keyboard parts. I think a track like Some Bright Sparks could appeal to the jazz rock aficionado as well as the open-minded progressive rock listener. Hymn To The Winter Sun sees some fine chord progressions and a fine solo part, also a short showcase of drummer Rich Kass. (Into) The Scrying Glass is a bit more powerful and blend the likes of Frank Gambale and Scott Henderson; one of my favourites on the album. Me And My Idiophone sees a fine grooving bass and an almost funky drum, preserving the basics of the song. The fusion guitar that plays over this fine bass ices another perfect composition, catchy and accessible for the non-jazz fan. Lucy's Brainwave is like earlier compositions a fine combination of great guitar playing and delicate keys. Gwen Kelso's flute stands out during this track. Smooth and gentle are the key words for the final composition on the album. Sahara Yadouin sees fine chord progressions, nicely stretched notes and still has a rocking touch. Towards the end a subtle hunch of country enters the music.
As I wrote before, it has been a long time since I got to listen to such an honest, thorough jazz rock album. For me, the name John Irvine is a synonym for high quality compositions in the jazz rock atmosphere, compositions that are perfectly performed and produced. Thank you John for another wonderful album.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2019