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


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.05 | 130 ratings

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4 stars With his first proper solo album, Allan Holdsworth creates an outstanding classic of jazz fusion. Of course, it's the kind of music that takes at least several listens to fully appreciate (as is usually the case with most prog), given it's harmonic sophistication. Actually, I find that, on first spin, all of Holdsworth's works sound remarkably similar to each other, as though he was merely copying himself. This is certainly not the case, however. It's explained by the fact that Holdsworth has a very distinctive style of composing and soloing - distinctive, but not repetitive or limited in any way. With time, the nuances and innovations in every album begin to come through, uncovering different sides of this multi-faceted and multi-talented guitarist. His talent in tying together seemingly unrelated chords into beautiful progressions is undeniable, and his ability to glide over them with fast, fluid fretboard runs is mind-boggling.

I do have a slight problem with Paul Williams's performance: I don't really like the phrasing of his vocal lines. He impresses by singing challenging melodies accurately, but the melodies themselves are rather clumsy. It seems that a lot of the time he's going for the spontaneous approach of the jazz greats, with awkward results. The others turn in a rock-solid performance: Gary Husband's acclaimed drumming skills are a great asset (he also provides an excellent piano solo in "Temporary Fault"), along with adventurous bass lines.

The album is impressively even and consistent, with no weak tracks to speak of. "Where is one" is a lovely laidback melodic instrumental, while "Letters of Marque" revolves around virtuosic fusion jamming; the chorus in "White Line" is very catchy as well. There are a couple of monotonous moments here and there, but these are made up for by the stellar guitar solos and peculiar chord shapes. Excellent stuff really - check it out.


Pafnutij | 4/5 |


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