Review – Psychoyogi – Brand New Face – by John Wenlock-Smith

Psychoyogi are a band who hail from London and who describe themselves as ‘left field, punk jazz’ and their music as being a diverse mixture of instrumental colours, melodies and words. Their songs offer current social and political critique alongside personal moments, which is a way of saying that they are a little different and, possibly, an acquired taste for many. I personally like them a lot but I can understand why some would struggle to get the drift.

In Chris Ramsing they have a talented and imaginative guitarist and vocalist who has a different view of the modern world and feels strongly that persons who upset the apple cart should be held accountable. One thing that will definitely assist in getting to the heart of this album are the very clever and intelligent lyrics for the songs which can be found on the band’s website:

PsychoYogi Leftfield punk jazz

So, what this latest album all about? First, the details, ten tracks in total and an approximate forty-two minute duration. The five band members are Chris Ramsing (Guitar and Vocal), Izzy Stylish (Bass), Justin Casey (Drums) , Toby Nowell (Sax and Trumpet), Ben Woodbine- Craft (Violin) and there is a guest, Tim Smart from The Specials who provides trombone, all of which makes for a great sounding album.

The album opens with Destitution, which is about the gulf between the have and the have not’s, i.e. the rich and the poor. In the lyrics there is the call for a redress of the balance, which isn’t on the cards for the foreseeable future but at least the opinion is clearly stated here. Musically this song fuses Zappa-ish guitar along with trumpet and violin to create a pleasing soundscape. In fact, the interaction between the brass and the strings is very fine indeed, a different but pleasing sound that lends itself well to the music being played. I am reminded of 80’s jazz outfit Working Week who took a similar musical approach. Arts and Farces is about creating art and the issues that raises in being true to yourself. Again the brass is sympathetic and supportive and makes for a lovely track. The Process opens with a languid and sneaking guitar line, which is supplemented by that excellent brass section once again. Even I can find the music of Psychoyogi challenging at times but I am also very aware of its ability to stay in your mind for days, usually it’s a little melody of line that achieves this effect. The track itself is about the relentless onslaught of change that is all around us. Whether we like it or not, we are all caught up in the endless march onward, all in the name of progress There is a great section where the use of percussion interludes marry up with the guitar to create some moments of almost peace and serenity before everything gallops forwards once more, a most interesting song indeed.

A Happier Song actually isn’t that happy at all, rather it, once again, points out the disparity in today’s society. It’s a common theme for Psychoyogi and makes their music that rare beast, intelligent but also unafraid to challenge and question, which I feel adds to its validity. Hence the left field punk tag, as wasn’t that what the punks were trying to do in the late 70’s? We then have The Chase, nothing to do with the quiz show but rather more of an instrumental that allows the violin to perform a longer part and take centre stage There are parts that almost sound like a Celtic jig with brass interjections playing in harmony. The drums are mostly using deft touches and brushes rather than powering ahead, this is a very welcome change and allows the musicians to really showcase their imagination imagination and skills. All this make this the album’s standout track thus far for me as it is very musical with great performances from all parties. The album’s title track, Brand New Face, has interesting and questioning lyrics, there is a lovely trumpet part that leads to a brief flurry of Chris’ guitar, a real flight of fancy. There is also a brilliant recurring guitar motif the underpins the track and makes it yet another impressive song that definitely gets the thumbs up from me.

We are then on the final stretch home for the album with Opportunity, Everything Before and Open Season. These three songs continue the questioning and challenging nature of the band again to good effect, showing that Psychoyogi’s music is never less than interesting, difficult, uneasy listening for sure, but still wholly worthwhile. The final track, Find Peace Within, is superb, again brass heavy but not overpowered. It has a slinkiness to it that greatly appeals. This song is about coping with modern life and urges us to find peace within when all around us is tumultuous, again worthy sentiments for sure but, possibly not always within our grasp!

My verdict on this very clever release is, if you like quirky, intelligent and questioning music then this new Psychoyogi album might just be your thing. I liked it for sure, especially the fabulous interaction between the guitar, violin, trombone and trumpet that all meld into a truly glorious sound.

Released September 29, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Brand New Face | PsychoYogi (

Review – PsychoYogi – Digital Vagrancy – by John Wenlock-Smith

For those who don’t know, PsychoYogi are a jazz fusion / progressive rock band led by the incredibly talented Chris Ramsing who plays guitar, writes the songs and also sings them! Chris is clearly influenced by the likes of Frank Zappa and many other left-field musicians. He is a very skilled player and uses the band’s musicality to express his thought and viewpoints. The music can be a bit cerebral and clever and can take a while to get into as it requires the listener’s effort too, what can seem to be a bit obscure will eventually begin to feel familiar and friendly, if you are prepared to make the investment of time and effort.

PsychoYogi have joined the roster of artists that appear under the Bad Elephant Music label banner, which is a good home for them and should expose them to a far wider audience. Their talents should begin to get the recognition that they deserve, after several years of self-released albums like ‘Accident Prone’, ‘Consumption Wheel’ and ‘Chase the Bone’, along with last year’s ‘Dangerous Devices’.

The latter was a good template for this new album ‘Digital Vagrancy’, a release on which, you will be glad to hear, the band’s normal wackiness and weirdness continues unabated, which, in the madness of this present age, is certainly both a boon and a relief and is very welcome. This is music to challenge and to experience for yourself, in amongst the weird time signatures lurks a good sense of both humour and of the absurd. This is clearly shown on tracks like Wonderful Place with its strong bass lines and with Chris’s fluid guitar taking centre stage, its freewheeling form scoring highly. There is also a deft lightness of touch to many of these tracks which shows how well the band are gelling as a unit these days, brass, horns, bass and guitars are drawn together, all underpinned by the bass of Izzy Stylish and the drums of Justin Casey.

The album opens with Guiding Light, all gentle noodling from Chris along with good syncopation from Justin’s drums, which splash gently across the muted tones of the sax of Toby Nowell. This is all very eloquently overseen by all concerned with a strong jazz fusion leaning and a jaunty tone, yet it’s still accessible listening and not just for jazz buffs. A Dangerous Path opens with some horn interplay, which sets the scene well for the languid jazzy rhythms at play. Here the music and vocals actually put me in mind of Greenslade for some odd reason but, if so, that’s a good comparison to have really, as they are nothing like each other at all but the mind is a strange thing at times and I guess years of stored music came to the surface there.

The River follows and has prominent bass to open followed by eloquent sax. Again, this mellow song works well hinged on bass and delicate drums with guitar chords at play and a brief jazzy guitar break from Chris really hits the mark. Wonderful Place is up next and opens with a long, fluid guitar line laid over busy drums and more of those strong bass lines. Shimmering guitar chords play over the track and are joined by more sax lines, add in an almost ethnic sounding percussion segment and it becomes very jazzy. This is sublime and superb at the same time, an enjoyable track with lots happening in its three-minute window.

Distant Bell follows with more delicate guitar lines and subtle bass lines, the horn and sax parts helping this sound really swing. This album gets better the more you play it and you begin to realise just what a joyfully crafted it really is as well as being imaginative and boldly creative. Everyone gets a chance to shine, and they all do throughout this fine track. Next Track Salvation has a smoky sounding opening, murky and effective sounding, before the vocals start. The song is all about faith and belief and the entire system of such things, it’s an interesting song that asks a lot questions land leaves you to your own conclusions.

Love and Sanity is about the lack of compassion in today’s world, how we are worse for its lack in society, and how we all avoid it as individuals today. It’s an honest, challenging and sobering song at times. Much to Dream About follows and is another questioning song about how yesterday’s dreams have gone and how those dreams have been replaced with negativity, fear and loathing with everybody affected by this change. This is social commentary about the world today and how it has not gotten better but has taken a step or more in the wrong direction.

Innocence for Fear is the last vocal track on the album and offers the observation that we exchange ‘Innocence for Fear’ in this modern age and that we all suffer as a result. Chris is quite forthright in his observations and questioning and why not , these things should be spoken of far more than the subservience and blind obedience that is expected of us these days!

It’s good that albums like this can offer a platform for such views to be considered and, as such, this is an important album and one that is worthy of consideration with its excellent musicianship and challenging lyrics and themes. This music could be described as left-field punk-jazz and I think that is pretty accurate.

Released 29th October, 2021

Order from Bad Elephant Music on bandcamp here:

Digital Vagrancy | PsychoYogi (

Review – PsychoYogi – Dangerous Devices

“The music is challenging, though accessible. Containing an abundance of unusual time signatures and rich chord structures for your musical imagination, with lyrics that question western social values.”

That’s how PsychoYogi describe their music and it is an astute description but, for the layman I choose to say that it is the most madcap, leftfield music I’ve heard in a long while. It is music that doesn’t belong in any category and that ploughs its own resolute furrow.

Imagine if Hatfield and the North arrived in a time machine, met up with Billy Bottle and the Multiple, The Cardiacs and Gong and decided to jam (I know, just humour me here please!) and then Henry Cow stole the time machine and gatecrashed the party.

That’s ‘Dangerous Devices’ in a nutshell. Sounds like utter mayhem and chaos doesn’t it? But, what you get is something that, by rights, I shouldn’t like but I do! It’s madcap, infused with lashings of gentle humour and fills you with not a little joy before exiting stage left after a mere thirty-seven minutes running time.

There’s a feel of mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun to this album and I think that comes from Chris Ramsing and his very precise elocution on the vocals that give it a not insubstantial air of bon viveur and slight aloofness. The music is an utter joy to listen to with Chris’s stylish guitar and the jazz infused bass of Izzy Stylish (yep, he is!) giving a classy touch to songs like the irrepressible title track Dangerous Devices, Masterplan and my personal favourite, Sooner Than Now.

That particular song also sees the wonderful brass of Toby Nowell (Trumpet, Soprano and Alto Sax) and John Macnaughton (Tenor and Alto Sax) given free rein to add a touch of mysticism to the album. Their undoubted skills are on show throughout this unique recording and really enforce the English eccentricity that is at its core.

Holding everything together is Justin Casey (Drums and Percussion) who adds the glue that holds everything together with his excellence behind the kit but these musicians are all masters of their particular dark arts.

So lend your ears to brilliant compositions like Master Plan, Common As Muck, Shadows and the peculiar charms of Words Unspoken and enjoy a journey through the unparalleled bewitchery that PsychoYogi create, you will not experience anything else quite like it.

Released 11th April 2020.

Order ‘Dangerous Devices’ from bandcamp here:

Review – Psychoyogi – Accident Prone – by Progradar

Mad as a badger poked by an exceedingly large stick or just willfully eclectic? Psychoyogi describe themselves as ‘Leftfield punk jazz’ and, after listening to their latest release ‘Accident Prone’ I can certainly subscribe some way to that definition.

There’s a whimsical wandering minstrel feel to the way the songs are delivered, not quite Canterbury prog, more that genres black sheep of the family.

Psychoyogi’s music is a diverse mixture of instrumental colours, melodies, and words. The songs present social and political critique alongside personal moments and moods.

Translated, the PR blurb means something along the lines of, it’s not quite like anything you’ve heard before and you will either get it, or not, depending on your personal propensity for songs that don’t adhere to the norm.

New Ways of Losing sees free-from jazz meet stubborn 70’s Prog complete with cape and flared trousers, title track Accident Prone sees The Dave Brubeck Quartet meet 70’s era King Crimson and Party For One is like Iggy Pop on weed and acid at the same time. There is never a dull moment throughout this innovative and captivating release, main man Chris Ramsing has a unique vocal style that blends spoken word with what is considered traditional as his lilting voice beguiles you.

‘Accident Prone’ is a forty minute musical journey through a warped but incredibly intelligent mind and you will be a changed person when you come out the other side after taking in the delights of songs such as Reasons To Pretend and Corporate Shoes with their knowing smiles and dry wit. Remember when you first started watching Lost? You may wonder what the hell is going on but you’ll be really enjoying yourself finding out.

Released 26th June 2018.

Order the album from bandcamp here

Check out the band’s website here