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Japhy Ryder | In Session

album review by John Powell

Japhy Ryder | In Session

In Session is arguably Japhy Ryder’s best album. Recorded live in a radio station and loved so much it was overdubbed and mixed, In Session has a looseness their other studio albums hint at, but their live shows breathe with. This album is the nice combination of both. The band, with instrumental music that’s always slightly somber, slow, and seasoned with trumpet, knows that their songs aren’t capable of lasting longer than four minutes, and keep their songs, for the most part, tight. Is it post rock? Kind of? Is it surfer music? Kind of. Is it good? Definitely.

“Triste” is a great example. The second track, Zach duPont keeps his guitar tightly wound while Will Andrews allows his keys to flow. Japhy Ryder’s biggest asset is Jason Time, who is in a band of slow-paced jammers but keeps the energy high. Will Andrews, most of the time on trumpet, gets the spotlight here. And while I always wonder where instrumentals get their song titles, “Triste” sounds about right.

Following is “Corleone”, also befitting. Italian-esque trumpet staggers over the soulful rhythm section. That’s perhaps why In Session is Japhy Ryder’s best work, because it is the most soulful. On “Fall in Love” the band is wrapped up in the slow simmer of the notion, allowing nothing but the sexiest manifestation of notes to come out of their jam.

The key track is “Set Self Sail vol.1”, by far Japhy’s most possessing song because it builds more than any other. The guitar and synth pipes expand like a bird taking flight, and Zach duPont lets his funk out. The song has this euphoric quality as it dips and dives through a simple melody.

My criticism of Japhy Ryder has always been the same: the band is capable of much, and keeps their tracks generally homogenous. Multi-instrumentals would let their sound grow. They could try louder post rock sounds or stick their feet into surfer rock, but instead they remain ever restrained, a quality to admire and also to shake your head at.

Still, it’s hard to argue with songs like “Last Night”, with its hops and jumps, its coolness. In fact, coolness is Japhy Ryder’s greatest ally. Whether it’s a simmering slow ballad or a funky strut, Japhy Ryder is like that guy in high school with a motorcycle, and you are, unwillingly, the teenage cheerleader victim to his charm.

Bottom line: Made live in session, Japhy’s set of jams is their loosest and perhaps best work.


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