One of the great joys in life is discovering new music that challenges as well as entertains, something I find a lot in the progressive music realm. For those who say there is nothing new nowadays, then I say you are wrong, there is a lot of great new music around, if you look for it, and keep your mind open to it. This album, for instance, which comes from a London based ‘Leftfield Punk Jazz’ outfit PsychoYogi, who have a wide range of diverse influences stretch from King Crimson to Bartok, Zappa to Tool, Primus to The Beatles and a whole host more. There is also a hefty slab of avant-jazz influences in this mix too, making for a very unique type of sound.
Noteworthy are the insightful lyrics to these songs, which when you read them, add real depth to the tracks. In fact I found that it was only after Chris Ramsing sent me the lyrics that the album really began to gel. Take the album opener, New Ways Of Losing, which talks of how we are all being robbed, losing out to the ways of the world, our inheritance is being stolen from under our feet. These politically charged lyrics suggest the band are less than happy with the state of the world really, and it is good to hear such anger expressed so eloquently. Aided by the great music, which wraps its way around these words, is especially effective. Must mention the great bass line from Izzy Stylish, who really fuels this song.
A very impressive opener indeed, is swiftly followed by the excellent Accident Prone, after which the album is named, with a great opening motif from saxophonist John MacNaughton and some sweet guitar from Chris Ramsing. There’s a great guitar break at the 1.22 mark, where Chris improvises sweetly against the framework laid down by the band. A fine song with numerous shifting time signatures, that not only work well, but show the abundant skills this band have. Once again this song is rather cutting as it talks about the ills of society. In contrast The View tackles the issue of isolation, the lyrics have a somewhat sombre tone, but kudos to the band bringing these topics into their music. Again the whimsy and sweetness of the music acts very effectively as a counterpoint to the bleakness of the lyrics.
Opting out of the mainstream and living separately and differently is tackled during Party For One, whilst Strange Time To Be Human‘s clever, but forthright lyrics attacking the dehumanization of the people, by the government, is marvelous. The whimsical odd mid-section, set against the scathing lyrics, completes this really fine song. Opulent Trip carries the theme even further, and how futile it all is at the end of the day – very bleak lyrics encased in light and tender musical accompaniment.
Elsewhere Reasons To Pretend is a call to maximise our lives, despite the difficulties we face daily, urging us to try to achieve a level of happiness, wherever and whenever we can. Reasons To Pretend offers an optimistic note, whereas Evening Calls conjures up a sense of loneliness and isolation. Corporate Shoes is another swipe at the lack of morality in the corporate world as it seeks to advance. The aim of the final track, The Plan, has a degree of hope embedded within its questioning lyrics, calling us to choose our direction and our purpose. It doesn’t matter if you fail, as long as you try. This is a more upbeat, positive song and concludes the album neatly.
The music is quirky, clever and with a lightness that defies the challenging lyrical content. It swings, but never swaggers; quirky but accessible; challenging and absorbing. All in all a really satisfying album on so many levels, I heartily recommend this to all…
01. New Ways of Losing (5:41)
02. Accident Prone (3:02)
03. The View (4:22)
04. Party for One (4:37)
05. Strange Times to Be Human (3:05)
06. Opulent Trip (4:32)
07. Reasons to Pretend (4:47)
08. Evening Call (3:12)
09. Corporate Shoes (3:30)
10. The Plan (3:26)
Total Time – 40:20
Chris Ramsing – Guitar, Vocals
Justin Casey – Drums, Percussion
Izzy Stylish – Bass
John Macnaughton – Alto & Tenor Saxes
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 26th June 2018