Day One Ordinary Man
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Day One's debut album, Ordinary Man, captures the group's unique fusion of folk and hip-hop storytelling traditions and eclectic electronic/acoustic arrangements. The album ranges from blue-eyed hip-hop like "Walk Now, Talk Now" to simple, affecting piano ballads like the title track, but Mario Caldato, Jr.'s straightforward production and vocalist Phelim Byrne's appealing, unaffected singing and rapping hold it all together. Shuffling trip-hop beats provide a laid-back foundation for most of the songs, but the group adds catchy, humorous lyrics and hooks on "Trying Too Hard" and "I'm Doing Fine," baggy-inspired keyboards on "Bedroom Dancing," and folky guitars on "Autumn Rain," adding to the album's diverse-yet-cohesive appeal. The cheerful, pop-tastic "In Your Life," the yearning, acoustic "Love on the Dole," and the breezy "Waiting for a Break" are among the other highlights of Ordinary Man, an impressive debut that places Day One in the ranks of groups like Cornershop and the Beta Band -- able to reinvent the pop lexicon but never forgetting to write good songs in the process.