Zygmunt Day - This City Has An Echo
Owain Paciuszko 26/01/2010
Combining an upbeat, acoustic guitar-led tune with spoken-word that echoes The Jam's That's Entertainment reimagined by Baxter Dury, there's an appealing grub and urbanity to the start of this self-produced EP from St. Albans' Zygmunt Day. There's a nice sense of monotonous reality to Day's lyrics, and a similar pseudo-Victorian pop-vibe as Supreme Vagabond Craftsman to his musical sense; especially on Yellow Light. Culminating in a rousing and erratic bellow of 'Hey!', it's folk music for a dimly lit bar backroom; 'How I wish I'd never been wrong before.' they call out with bitter sobriety and a flickering glow of hopefulness.
Recorded in a bedroom and shed after work, Day's ambition was to create an EP that develops and flows from track to track, and it is impeccably produced and there's a real weight of experience behind the songs, which is even more impressive considering Day's relative youth. There is a distinct journey carved out across these six songs, though it's not always smooth sailing, despite some beautiful cello by Conrad Steel, the title track lacks the punch of other tracks.
Elsewhere there's a peculiar mix of Math-like time signature guitars, rich string arrangments and buoyant lyrics about a young man's suicide on the stirring and heartfelt Edward Brown, which seems to marry Day's ambition and execution perfectly. Streetlights Like Halos barrages forward, a straight rocker, merging A Thousand Trees-era Stereophonics (y'know, when they were good) with Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party (y'know, when they were good), and whilst it is the most obvious track here it still manages to keep a few inventive tricks up its sleeve, not least of all the delightful choir-like vocals on the chorus, helping to off-set the potentially predictable indie vibe of this track.
Closing track Kiss Me By The Car Park employs a lot of the flourishes already explored across the record, it's a North London twee finale that feels disappointingly damp in comparison to what went before. What is undeniable across this six track though is that Zygmunt Day is an incredibly gifted songwriter with some wonderful ideas when it comes to interesting arrangment, and this EP, though far from perfect, has a handful of stand-out tracks and more than a shed-load of imagination.