The John Irvine Band is a trio from Edinburgh, Scotland spearheaded by talented multi-instrumentalist John Irvine, who like guitarist/SynthAxe specialist Alan Holdsworth divides his time between the conventional electric guitar and the guitar synth. Irvine is joined by Alan Emsile on drums/percussion and Doug Kemp on bass guitar.
The material on their debut album "Wait & See" is very reminiscent of Holdworth's most creative period between 1976 and 1987 - with a quick succession of solo albums like "Velvet Darkness" (1976), "I.O.U" (1982), "Road Games" (1983), "Metal Fatigue" (1985), and the fusion albums that showcased Holdsworth's affinity for the SynthAxe - "Atavachron" (1986) and "Sand" (1987).
Like Holdsworth, Irvine experiments with extremely fluid finger-picked chords and harmonic leads that sooth rather than attack the inner ear in a kinetic fury of overzealous fretboard gymnastics. Irvine teases with momentary flashes of brilliance and lazar speed dexterity without overwhelming each piece with an ego-driven need for attention. His leads are stylistic yet economical, in much the same way as David Gilmore, Steve Hackett, and Andrew Latimer.
John Irvine donned many hats for "Wait & See", composing, performing, arranging, recording, mixing, and producing the project. And the end result is an excellent instrumental Progressive Jazz-Rock album that should appeal to fans of Alan Holdsworth, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, Frippertronics, as well as another SynthAxe specialist, Mark Dwane whose albums "The Monuments Of Mars", "The Atlantis Factor" and "Angels, Aliens, & Archetypes" is also required listening..
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on May 12th, 2012