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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.
'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.
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?
Day One: Ordinary
Man Melankolic CD-Album CDSADJX8
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