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PsychoYogi - 2020 - “Dangerous Devices”

(35:37; Psychoyogi)


It was only earlier this year that I was reviewing PsychoYogi’s last album, 2018’s ‘Accident Prone’, and now I have had the opportunity to listen to their latest, ‘Dangerous Devices’. There has been an expansion in the recording line-up since the last album, with Chris Ramsing (guitar, vocals), Justin Casey (drums), Izzy Stylish (bass) and John Macnaughton (alto and tenor sax) being joined by Toby Nowell (trumpet, alto & soprano sax). But as Toby and John only play together on one track I wonder if there has actually been an overlapping line-up change. This is progressive rock which also owes a great deal to jazz, with brass instrumentation being incredibly important to the overall sound. At times it is almost as if Hatfield and the North and Cardiacs have got together, but with more horns. The guitar is often staccato, the bass incredibly melodic, while the drums are more often to be found playing jazz structures than rock. This combination of left field weirdness is incredibly commercial and so very easy to listen to – at least to my poor abused ears: those who tend to sit firmly in the mainstream may find this just a little too out there for their taste. It is music which refuses to be pigeonholed, so while one may say this is Canterbury inspired pronk, that really does miss the point. This is truly experimental music that contains pop elements, jazz which refuses to conform to the norms of that genre, and when they go off on a complete tangent on “Sooner Than Now” it sounds both ridiculous and in total keeping with the music all at the same time. Here is a band who are deliberately refuse to conform to anyone’s expectations: they describe themselves as Leftfield Punk Jazz which is probably as good a description as any. It tells you all you need to know, in that if you want to hear something different which is incredibly easy to enjoy on first playing and just gets better, then this is it.

Progtector: September 2020

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