Zygmunt Day - Scratchcard Winner
Owain Paciuszko 03/03/2011
Sombre strings and lightly plucked acoustic guitar gather around the sound of drizzle, bringing to mind early Badly Drawn Boy on Kids on the Corner, before Zygmunt's vocal joins in like a crusty Paul Weller. It's a wonderfully bittersweet tune, elegantly structured to tug at the heart strings and paint peculiar pictures in your mind's eye. One of Zygmunt's greatest skills as a song-writer is knowing how to capture a mood in his music that is like the aural equivalent of Shane Meadows' films.
Things go surprisingly borderline Elton John on the upbeat piano-rock intro of Tommy, it turns into a exuberant spiky little indie number that feels like a distant cousin of A Town Called Malice telling the tale of someone leaving their small town for, hopefully, better things. Alas for all its energy it kind of loses its drive around the four minute mark, and with almost two minutes left to go it sort of chunders towards a so-so finale rather than the rousing climax it seems to aim for.
There's an air of the softly spoken poetic style of Baxter Dury in Zygmunt's occasionally squeaky and delightfully honest delivery on Horoscopes/Morning Rain, and it builds towards wondrous choruses with warm female vocals offsetting the crunch of Zygmunt's voice brilliantly; the refrain of 'Anything' inparticular having a nice contrasting resonance between the sweet and sour voices. There's a rousing cry of 'It don't change!' over twinkling bells, insistent drums and aching strings that has the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention, and it swells with hope and optimism. Similarly Temporary Saviours has a lively percussion backing up Zygmunt's colourful and wry lyrics; 'I went home that night with an exotic dancer/Man, I wore all her kisses like a plaster.' The track continues hinting at little explosions, it shuffles tentatively and nervously towards exploding, and these denials of release are thrilling, and it's jaunty little asides with shouts of 'Hey!' are both liberating and danceable yet equally cautious and restrained.
The closing title track is a despondent ballad, Zygmunt crying 'Surely luck will come round.' It has layered vocals and a gentle acoustic guitar line, but fails to evoke as strong an atmosphere as the rest of the record, it's got some nice sentiments but they sort of wash by rather than striking chords. It's a slight shrug of the shoulders at the end of a generally lovely and at turns moving and exciting record by an artist with a strong and unique style.