No matter how thoroughly State scours the minimal promo artwork of the debut release from this Irish/Oz combo, there’s still no sign of three words which we assume must be missing from the record’s title: ‘Original Cast Recording’. For this is a CD candidly stuffed with West End trademarks; intense peaks and troughs, soulful bombast, narrative and soliloquist insinuations, dramatic instrumental interludes and some awkward lyricism which could normally be excused exclusively within the confines of an exciting production (‘If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise/There’s nowhere left for the kids to play/We may as well run for our lives’).
But for a group who named themselves for a format of cricket match and who named their album after a plainly-monikered thrush, Blackbird is a considerably less boring listen than its creators would allow you to believe. The maturity and agility of these compositions are perhaps most comparable to the presently-AWOL Sufjan Stevens, as orchestral fl ourishes, swish choral harmonies and aptly-positioned beats (provided by Ross Turner of Jape/Cathy Davey) elegantly wrap themselves around skeletal piano to together reach a concordant climax.
One Day International are essentially releasing an ideal -summer album’ a few months too late (not to suggest that there’s one perfect time to do such a thing on this wind-stricken and porous blob of rock), but it’s a record likely to ease the cold curse of the winter for those unable to make it to Broadway during the dying months of 2008.