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Alfie Ryner (Brain Surgery)

Crank this to 8.2 of 11

Released: 2015

Genre: Progressive Jazz, Math Rock

Sounds Like: Oxbow, Glueleg, Tuatara

Freeform progressive jazz and rock coupled with elements of math rock? Who could pass this up?Brain Surgery, the latest offering from the French quintet is all of this and more. The band from Toulouse, France move in so many directions we can’t keep track of all the genres being thrown at us. The album is basically instrumental with the exception of a few moments of spoken word singing by Paco Serrano. His vocals are a bit guttural and raw, it definitely took us by surprise. We must say, you really have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to this one. At times it is soothing jazz than on a blink of an eye it shifts to a progressive math rock style, it’s quite impressive as there are no rules here, they just go with what they feel.

Track Listing:

1. Raging Chicken

2. Douanier

3. Brain Surgery

4. Hypnose

5. No Hay Mas

6. Gradation

“Raging Chicken” begins with a soft trombone and bass with ever so light vocals in the background. Than bam! They hit you all at once with a change in pace to an upbeat frenzied progressive jazz style. This song pretty much has it all, the math-rock styled guitars play amongst a trippy trombone and the thumping percussion ties everything altogether. “Douanier” has some terrific drumming, Loris Pertoldi steals the song with the trash can percussion. Paco’s vocals are in full mode on this track, it helps break up the barrage of music being thrown at us.

The third song “Brain Surgery” has elements of Primus in it, and believe it or not it’s bit more erratic. “Hypnose” somehow reminds us of the band Glueleg from the 90s, especially in the beginning and end of the song, it must be the grunge styled guitar and bass. The song has a mellow approach which feels good, it calms things down a bit. You will find some progressive jamming going on here, sounds as if Satriani or Stve Vai were invited to the party. The last two songs are out there, “No Hay Mas” is a whirlwind improvisation of jazz, rock and perhaps spoken word poetry. The last one “Gradation” is like Tuatara on crack, it’s wildly exploratory, putting an exclamation point on the album.

Band Members:

Paco Serrano - Saxophone / Vocals

Guillaume Pique - Trombone / Keys

Loris Pertoldi  - Drums

Guillaume Gendre - Double-bass

Gérald Gimenez – Guitar

Alfie Ryner is a complex bunch of musicians and this album which is released through Atypeek records is far from anything normal. If you are seeking out something fresh and don’t mind some jazz mixed into your rock, we urge you to give this a listen, you just may be surprised.

Standout Tracks: No Hay Mas, Douanier, Hypnose

Follow Alfie Ryner: Bandcamp / Facebook


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