Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Find: One Day International

In combing through the kabillion mp3s for SXSW this year, I was starting to get rather bummed. I was into the middle of the alphabet and there had been lots of "nice" tracks, but nothing that made me say, "Hell yes, this is a band I cannot miss." That all changed when I hit the O's and One Day International.

With songs that are lush and filled with intimacy and emotion, this group from Dublin creates music that is as powerful as it is gentle and delicate. Hearing Matt Lunson sing is like hearing a friend pour out his heart, or your own heart talking back to you. One Day International is poetry with a backing melody.

Their story:

This is the story of One Day International. Matt Lunson on vocals, Cormac Curran on piano, Danny Snow on bass, Ross Turner on drums and Eimear O’Grady on cello.

One Day International release their debut album Blackbird in Ireland on October 3rd, 2008 on Independent Records. Stealing precious early hours and extended late evenings from each of their numerous music and theatre day-lives, the five piece have crafted an album that gently reveals a wealth of beautiful, simple songs.

Produced by Brian Crosby (BellX1 and The Cake Sale), Blackbird is an album of impressions, colours and emotions expressed through a gorgeous layered sound. Each note, each word, is lovingly tended to and brought to life by five incredibly talented friends who perform together with equal measures of restraint and inhibition. Tales of lovers and strangers, confidence and vulnerability, Blackbird is simple in its story and complex in its arrangement.

The subtle temperance and glorious crescendos of One Day International come from a hybrid of musical births: Lunson, a Tasmanian escapee, began life literally tongue tied, traveled the world, settled on Dublin and hasn’t looked back; Curran discovered the piano at age four, turned his back on ten years of formal training to play guitar with ‘real men’ and returned to the ivories with brand new ears when still just eighteen years old; Snow played bass in a young rock band, dreamt unrequited dreams of stadium stardom, and despite being the nonplussed owner of one singular Jazz album, went on to complete a three year BA in Jazz Performance; Turner can’t remember a time when he wasn’t playing or studying music, a drummer of vast experience who moonlights with personal appearances on record sleeves and in music videos, and O’Grady, a multi talented, multi faceted woman who has performed all genres of music across the world and still manages to find the time to act on stage, when not being doused in fuel and set alight on film sets.

Having come together through mutual acquaintances, lovers tiffs and the barriered doors of some of Dublin’s less than salubrious gin joints, One Day International began performing and writing together in 2007. A deep and passionate respect for language resonates through each and every track. Words are not wasted, each turn of phrase demands attention. The collected musicianship of the group affords the listener a hoard of minds-eye treasures to call upon. One Day International are a lean, mean songwriting team. Having all been involved in music for many years, from live performances and recording processes through to the dirty business of releasing records, One Day International played a modest amount of live dates, then took a step back from the live circuit to spend time making Blackbird.

Brian Crosby took a delicate hold of recording and production duties and coaxed eleven lullabies from One Day International. Along the way, bowed cymbals and glockenspiels, an omnichord, a pounding double bass, synths and a host of talented musicians and vocalists managed to find their place in the mix.

The album opens with the band tuning up, lures the listener in, sweeps you away on an eleven-song long journey, before spitting you back out on the street, a little dazed, wondering how this fateful meeting ever happened and why it ended so quickly.

Listen: Miss Your Mouth-One Day International

Blackbird by One Day International: Purchase

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