The duo's minimal rhythm sermons have been fleshed out for public consumption. Basically [a]Day One[/a] have been Jazz Clubbed up, imposing a murky blanket of that semi-mythical, multicultural '

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Bristol University

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Bristol University

Signed to [a]Massive Attack[/a]’s Melankolic label and produced by Beasties buddy Mario C, Day One have the songs to justify such starry connections. On record, Phelim Byrne and Donnie Hardwige have perfected a spare, fluid, lyrically inventive but unfussy electro-rap sound. Imagine early Mantronix or latter-day De La Soul with a flair for tragicomic observation.

Live, however, their broody power seems blunted. The duo’s minimal rhythm sermons have been fleshed out for public consumption. Basically Day One have been Jazz Clubbed up, imposing a murky blanket of that semi-mythical, multicultural ‘Bristol Sound’ on tunes which deserve a better hearing. Literally.

They still shine through, mind, chiefly because Phelim‘s deadpan irony makes him one of the most original white rappers in Britain. ‘Waiting For A Break’ is pure social commentary, a caustic summing-up of wannabe stars which is as savage as Jarvis but twice as dry. But there is no sneering superiority here – ‘I’m Doing Fine’ finds universal meaning in a personal confession of vulnerability, existential loneliness and skin-deep socialism.

Post-Massive Bristol is teeming with wired white-boy monologue merchants like the Experimental Pop Band or Monk & Canatella. Day One lead the pack in sharp storytelling and slick synthetic grooves, but half-realised shows like this undersell their rich potential.