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Allan Holdsworth - I.O.U. CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 98 ratings

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The Owl
Prog Reviewer
4 stars To call this groundbreaking would be an understatement. After years of playing "hired gun" and adding colorful embroidering to the works of others, Allan Holdsworth in no uncertain terms served notice he had something unique of his own to offer. Ghostly extruded chords, angular intervalic melody lines, anarchaic drumming and Coltrane-like flurries of notes dance collide twist and turn on themselves in ways never before thoght possible. Having seen this lineup live (circa 1982), It was amazing to see Allan do things on a guitar that just sounded impossible! Gary Husband's drumming is a great example of "controlled chaos", providing a great foil for Allan's unorthodox musical ideas as Paul Carmichael provides solid bass support.

Only one thing kept me from giving this a five-star rating, that being THE VOCALS! First thing I wondered was "Were they really necessary?". The next being, "If they were, couldn't have Allan been a bit more choosy in this department?" For better or worse, Paul Williams' (ex-Tempest, Juicy Lucy) vocals occupy half of the album. The presence of vocals in this music seems to have an arbitray, gratuitous air about it at times. Plus, the rather non-descript, flat character of William's voice doesn''t help much. Thankfully, the vocal sections are short.

But back to the highlights. "Shallow Sea" could well be THE definitive Holdsworth solo piece rivaled only by "Letters of Marque"! "Temporary Fault" is an elegant musical statement featuring Allan and Gary doing beautiful work on other instruments in additon to their own primaries (Allan on a beautiful violin and Gary on piano), the song could've done without the arbitrary herky-jerky segment at the middle and end though. "The Things You See (When You Haven't Got Your Gun)" is a beautifully unfolding mini-epic that gallops along at a brisk clip, good opener actually. Fusin and guitar freaks will find much to like here. This Owl particularly appreciated the loose, natural feel of a lot of the music. IF you can look past the vocal sections, dive in and enjoy!

The Owl | 4/5 |


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