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Panzerballett: Breaking Brain

Germans hitting the hammer with the nail.

The mental gymnastics this Munich five-piece have been through to make this record is enough to make your head hurt. Musical boundaries have been rigorously challenged, practically and philosophically. Rather than hitting the nail on the head, they say that their methodology reverses the analogy.

So it’s a relief to report that Breaking Brains is a lively, wide-ranging jazz-rock romp, dynamically played and underpinned by restless rhythmic patterns that vary from crashing waves to ripples.

And crucially, their methodology has a strong sense of melody: think the Mahavishnu Orchestra playing live at the court of the Crimson King and you’re getting there.

It’s more complex than that, obviously – try working out what they’ve done with Mancini’s famous Pink Panther theme.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.