Japhy Ryder, If the Haves Are Willing | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Japhy Ryder, If the Haves Are Willing 

Album Review

250-cd-japhyryder.jpg

(Halogen Records, CD)

With a recently released and well-received live album, Over the Fall — Live at Nectar’s, and a slew of increasingly packed live performances, Japhy Ryder stand at the front of a gathering storm of local buzz. And so, the Burlington-based prog-rock darlings’ latest studio release, If the Haves Are Willing, debuts amid high expectations. Many proven live acts have struggled to rein in the freedom and spontaneity of live performance in the studio. Yet this quartet meets the challenge head on. Japhy Ryder’s third studio album — and first for Montpelier’s Halogen Records — proves an impressive addition to their already notable catalog.

Much like the group itself, the release resists easy classification. Is it funk? Is it jazz? Jazz-funk? Some categorical offshoot as yet unknown? Does it matter?

It does not: After a few listens, these questions deflate in importance. Call them what you will, Japhy Ryder continually triumph in the land of genre ambiguity — a place where so many instrumental bands go to die.

The introductory “Das Gut” and “Ain’t That a B” are constructed with Patrick Ormiston’s slinky yet authoritative bass lines escorting Will Andrews’ oily trumpet phrases. This seemingly sets a course for the funk/jazz pigeonhole. However, the blissfully melodic “Can’t Do It” shakes this impression. Guitarist Zack duPont emerges wonderfully, accompanied by Andrews’ splendidly downhearted wails.

The schizophrenic “Brother B” further showcases the band’s dexterity, from a simmering groove to an enthusiastic cacophony of brass, blotted out fantastically by distorted guitar, only to return again.

“The Fill” revisits the playful funk stylings found at the record’s outset. The song’s melody jostles with duPont’s crafty noodling, and drummer Joshua Pfeil spreads his wings with luscious pings on a ride cymbal.

From the sampling of conversational voices on “Ain’t That a B” to the looped guitar tracks at the outset of “Self Set Sail,” the record is reminiscent of the titans of post-rock. Tortoise’s 1998 masterpiece TNT comes immediately to mind, as does the trademark momentous din of bands such as Tristeza or the even more obscure Saxon Shore.

These are lofty comparisons, but well deserved. Japhy Ryder can breathe this rarified air with swagger, bolstered by impressive live performances and a growing reputation as a unique and promising ensemble.

Japhy Ryder celebrate the release of their new record with two shows this week: Friday, June 25, at Nectar’s in Burlington, and Saturday, June 26, at Positive Pie 2 in Montpelier.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

John Pritchard

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation