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The John Irvine Band: Metaphysical Attractions

Let’s get physical… Metaphysical! Somehow I can’t see Edinburgh’s John Irvine donning his leotard and prancing round the gym or working up a sweat at 100 gyrations per-minute while wearing a pink headband. Hence my first suspicion that Metaphysical Attractions wasn’t a sideways glance to Olivia Newton John; instead being more a fusionist’s longing stare into a sci-fi themed instrumental album that pushes at the door of prog and jazz fusion, while never really looking to enter either room behind. Instead this multi-instrumentalist can be found making a succession of surprisingly accessible sounds through his sparkling guitar work, expressive bass forays and keynote keyboards. That Irvine brings all these aspects to the fore on this album means two things: firstly that he’s annoyingly talented - curse you John! And secondly that there are no egos jostling for attention here, a factor that allows an even spread and flow of sounds and approaches to sweep across the eight pieces on display with an evenness seldom found on an instrumental outing.

Arguably it’s the bright, breezy trot of “Some Bright Sparks” that starts proceedings properly, the opening (almost) title track “Metaphysical Attractions I” a quick scene setter that fires out keyboard stabs and fret runs with a real sense of glee. However, with an innate groove, the longer second outing is impressive indeed and remarkably engaging. Drummer Rich Kass also deserves special mention, his contributions tasteful as they drive on the energetic passages and even more so when they slide into the atmospheric background. “Hymn To The Winter Sun” is one such occasion, where mood and tone overtake skill and panache - and then there’s a mid-song drum solo to swipe your preconceived notions clean from under you.

A dash of the Satch is added to “(Into) The Scrying Glass”, the fret-slide of Joe Satriani no more than hinted at before a more fusioneering edge takes control. While the second short dash of “Metaphysical Attraction II” pulls back the curtain on more flash instrumental work and a colony of bees playing brass and synths (I’m guessing that’s not what happening, but it might be!). A strangely Police like melody line and percussive splash is added to “Me And My Idiophone”, ensuring you stay alert and tuned in, while “Lucy’s Brainwave” is undoubtedly a good idea and one that bounces along on cymbals crashes, splashes and hits. Leaving “Sahara Youdin” to enigmatically and atmospherically close the album, although in such a way that once it builds into full being, Rush and Satriani are once more brought into play.

So yes, let’s get physical… Metaphysical. It’s a hugely attractive offer and one best not wasted!

Track Listing
1. Metaphysical Attractions I 

2. Some Bright Sparks 

3. Hymn To The Winter Sun 

4. (Into) The Scrying Glass

5. Metaphysical Attractions II

6. Me And My Idiophone 

7. Lucy’s Brainwave 
8. Sahara Yadouin

Added: April 27th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Metaphysical Attractions on bandcamp
Hits: 735
Language: english

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