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REVIEWS - SOUNDS

Title:
Ordinary Man
Artist(s):
Day One
El-Camel's Ratings:

Label:
Melankolic
---BUY THIS ALBUM---
Reviewer:
michael white

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Laid-back and low-key self-effacement polished to an art form by Bristolian duo Phelim Byrne and Donnie Hardwidge. Dole life lent twenty-one year old Byrne the time to develop the lean angularity of his perspective on the smirks, quirks and less than outrageous fortune of everyday experience. The singularity of his spoken-word, vocal delivery - a street- corner poetry for the slack-minded - recalls the wistful lilt of Lambchop's Kurt Wagner and echoes the sympathetic urban obsessions of Difford/Tilbrook. With an equally relaxed trip/hip-hop montage providing a meandering back beat - that follows on behind like a loyal, though occasionally wilful dog on a string - Day One provide the perfect antidote to all the pompously big, indie guitar vistas embraced in manic stereo.

'Waiting For A Break' is Bill Wyman's 'Je Suis Un Rock Star' filtered through reality/banality - where a desire for the promised land reflects stubborn belief: one of those moments when hope leads experience in the league table of life. 'Walk Now Talk Now' is a refracted muse on human relations and the cold ambivalence of modern life. The boys may not be strident enough to come down on the modern life is shit view but they leave little doubt that it whiffs somewhat, and are not averse to wafting a scent of this around to prove their point.

Current single 'In Your Life' is a jingly-jangly, shoe-gazing ode to sweet (heart) indifference. Previous single 'I'm Doing Fine' is both statement of fact, and orchestral opus - at least viewed from the heights of the 'small' world of B&H. 'Autumn Rain' builds slowly like a call to arms and is a chiming guitar anthem - in a world of 'small' bets and no hedging. 'Love On The Dole' is crafted; simplicity - the kind of song where a story is told, the listener goes from A to B with no indulgent detours; and quiet acceptance is the only response to the regulation absurdity of lives rich only in dull routine.

Ordinary Man is a mixture of these same routines. Peaks and troughs for sure, but most of the time the unrelentingly regular rhythms of life. Its not a journey defined by switchbacks and extravagant emotion, more like a gentle perambulation on a number one bus, with all its attendant supply of resigned humour, characters and 'drama' - though no less evocative for that. But it is still early days and although this ordinary man's whimsy can occasionally slide into a whine - and at worst the affectedly twee - there are enough affecting moments to suggest that the wait for the break is over. Small world isn't it?

michael white

Day One: Ordinary Man Melankolic CD-Album CDSADJX8

www. the-raft.com



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